Over the past two years as teens have graduated and gone off to college, I have watched a change in leadership behaviors in the teen ministry at my church. Select teens often lead others, working hand-in-hand with one or two adults to guide the ministry in the way it should go. This includes dance, choir, mime, and drama ministries.
Saturday night, we had our first annual Youth Explosion, and two other churches participated in the program. The ministries were outstanding, and the youth and teens did a phenomenal job praising and worshiping the Lord. What an excellent testimony that our children were in the house of God on a Saturday night!
As with anything in this world, there will be discord among some. Everyone cannot possibly be happy, and oftentimes people become consumed with their feelings rather than concerned about everyone. This happened among a few of our teens as some wanted to have their moment in the spotlight to “outshine,” or to give orders in an attempt to control others. The leadership position was too much for them to handle.
I heard various grumblings and murmurings from different factions, but in the end, it all came together beautifully for His glory. As I thought about the actions of some of the young leaders, it caused me to think about young leaders in every aspect of life.
If you’re a young leader, you’ve felt pressured at different times. Perhaps you have questioned your position. You’re bound to make mistakes, have some failings, and encounter disappointments. Yet, with positive affirmations and the right support system in place, you can and will abound.
Discord can be created from the envy that others have of your position as a leader. Sometimes stemming from concern about your age, others may question your ability to lead. However, it is important for you to know your role and the expectations God has for you. It is no one else’s place to judge you. The measuring stick you use should only be God’s and not one created by men. Continue leading with integrity, justice, righteousness, humility, and love. “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Leadership requires you to have a servant’s heart. This requires that you seek God first in all you do, and to submit yourself to His authority. When you commit your paths to the Lord and trust Him, He will surely act on your behalf. He won’t leave you lost and confused or without direction.
Recall the reason you went into leadership. Whatever your reason was, leadership is always based on servanthood. Your commitment to serving others requires that you give of yourself. This service allows you to do what is necessary to accomplish what is best for those you are leading. In the end, your reward will be the successful completion of goals, the inspiration you leave your followers, and the sense of triumph you have at the end.
Guide with excellence, treating others as you would have them treat you (Matthew 7:12). Carefully consider what is most important to you in your interaction with others. What expectations do you hold of others? The very things that are important to you, respect those in others. In like manner, those things that matter to your followers, you should respect.
The responsibility accorded to those in leadership positions can be draining. You are expected to hold yourself to certain standards that others may not uphold. Surround yourself with other leaders, young and old alike, who are familiar with the pressures inherent in your role (Hebrews 10:24). You will find support, empathy, and guidance. Others who have gone through similar situations may be compassionate and can offer words of encouragement or direction to ensure you remain committed and strong.
Spending time in the presence of God is the most significant action to rebuilding yourself after being weakened by the pressures of leadership. He will restore your joy, give you peace, and ensure you have strength to honor your commitment. Whenever you feel weak, seek the Lord and His presence. Praying to Him and remaining quiet in His presence to hear Him will leave you refreshed and strengthened (Philippians 4:13).
Even in leadership positions, be mindful of respecting your elders, although their position may not be superior to yours. Never allow yourself to become so prideful that you disrespect others because of your position. Humility demonstrates honor and reverence for God. He recognizes those who are humble and gives grace unto them, but resists those who are prideful (1 Peter 5:5).
Your role is that of a mentor, role model, and friend who inspires other youth, or perhaps older individuals.
Walk confidently in your purpose.
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