About 10 years ago a buddy and I drove up to Vermont to go skiing. The drive was pretty treacherous because of a snow storm that crossed our path. Snow was falling fast, clogging up the road and hindering our view. The best thing to do was get behind some trucks and follow them to safety. They pushed away the snow giving us smoother travels.
It can be difficult to follow in student ministry. As the youth minister your the designated leader, which means you make decisions. As a leader you are designed to take risks and lean into the tension. A true lead not only leads but follows as well. If you cannot follow then you might not be worth following. As a youth minister you need to know how to follow before you can lead. That means:
- Embracing Your Limits: There are going to be certain rules and guidelines that you need to follow. You might feel like they exist to make your life miserable. Guidelines and rules are there to keep you focused, protect you and help you create a framework. Before you try to break or bend them, embrace and learn them. When you understand your limits, you’ll learn your strengths and lead from a healthier place.
- Seeking A Mentor: You are not the first person to enter into student ministry. You do not have to be a pioneer, even if your situation is different from every other youth worker in the world. Find someone you respect and trust to shed wisdom on you. Listen to their stories, ask them questions and follow their advice. Do not underestimate the power of experiential wisdom.
- Honoring Authority: If you ever want to influence up, you’ll need to learn how to follow him first. That means never criticizing your pastor (Or any other authority) publicly. If you have a problem with the way they lead confront them calmly and with love. Work on the relationship by consistently communicating and building trust. When you honor authority you not only respect leadership, but set an example of what it means to follow.
- Trusting The Lord: This is common sense; however, it’s easily forgotten. To build trust you need to make sure you are surrounding yourself in prayer and working on your spiritual habits. Join a group that will hold you accountable to your faith and schedule days where you can just check-in with God. If you trust God, you will follow Him anywhere.
A great leader knows who to follow because leaders are learners. Absorb wisdom when you can, embrace the environments around you and trust in God to guide you.
Who do you follow and how do they help you lead?