If you are in youth ministry, it means you have someone you report to. You answer to a “boss”, a pastor who oversees your area, your direct report, whatever it is, you have someone over you. Sometimes your relationship with that person is a good one and they help and empower you to do what you do. Other times, it’s not as nice.

Sometimes the leadership above makes calls that don’t make sense to you. Sometimes it seems like you are hung out to dry on certain moves, or you felt thrown under the bus. Sometimes decisions are made for you, but because of the structure, they can be and you are left carrying out someone else’s vision. They are your leader, so we are supposed to follow right? How can you possibly lead your leaders?  

So how do you lead up? How can you speak into, help, serve the leadership above you?

Pray up – A decision has been made and you have to go a long with it. Before any conversation with your direct report, you better pray it up. I think part of leading up, is praying up. Before any conversation that needs to happen happens, we need to make sure our hearts are in the right place. Nothing will kill the trust of the leadership if we go into meetings with a selfish ambition and prideful heart. 

Shut up – I’m not saying don’t speak up, I’m saying don’t say what you want to say… right now. Shut up. Sometimes things don’t make sense. Sometimes we are angry or hurt or both. Sometimes the best thing to do is have the conversations but withhold somethings in the moment. I hear too many people who have blown up in those meetings and it only hurt them. If the things you’re feeling are still there after you have prayed up after week, you can still say them but you will say them in a much more thought out and Jesus-like way. 

Question up – Sometimes the best thing to do is just ask questions. Don’t be annoying about it but chances are (I like to give the benefit of a doubt) the uppers have prayed through and thought though whatever decision made. Some of the best things to get clarity is ask good questions. Instead of assuming something, ask questions and allow them to answer them and hopefully, hopefully, there could be some clarity to whatever situtation you are in. Jesus asked a lot of questions. So when you ask them, you’re being like Jesus. 🙂

Serve up – At the end of the day, you are in your position to serve. One of the best ways to lead up up is to serve up. Serve whole heartedly. Many times when we take position of service (just like Jesus) it will always pan out. We serve at the church we are at because we ultimately trust the leadership and want to serve the church. If you this is not your position, well that is a whole other post for another day. I believe if you pray up, shut up, question up, and a decision is still made, our job is to serve up.

I’m sure there are more things in order to lead up. One of the best things (in my experience) to do when things are a little rocky is to lead up. There are ways in which we can help guide and talk through tough decisions to made with the ones who make the decisions that can be helpful and respectful. You would be surprised how these things can actually help and bring clarity to you and your direct report and be able to sway decisions and be able to lead up.

What else would you add?