I wanted to follow up to part 2 on the power of words in developing student leaders. What I was suggesting was that intentional words, directed from a caring youth worker can be dramatic and powerful! But, my add-on today is to make sure that our words are more than pointing out that which is self-evident and/or noticeable. Intelligence nor vision is required to point out the obvious.

One of the ways to deepen the quality of relationships with teenagers is to be someone in their life who is challenging them to see their own potential. That’s what leaders do… they see “WHAT COULD BE” and make it known. It can become a life-changing action!

This week I had lunch with a fairly new friend who told me, “I’ve listened to you teach the last year, I mean I’ve really listened to you, and I think you could be…” He then went on to affirm me with what he believed I could be with these new messages brewing within me. My brief lunch with him was empowering! I felt so inspired and motivated.

I want those types of people in my life who look to see what I don’t see in myself. If you’re like me, you tend to see your own faults, sins and inadequacies and don’t always see the qualities or the potential for good. I left that lunch feeling challenged, believed-in and thankful that I have a new friend who has “spiritual eyes” to see the “what could be” in me. Think about it, if I’m appreciating that quality, I’ve got imagine teenagers are dying for it.

After that lunch, on the way to my car, I met a very nice person who knows me from my speaking at church. She said, “You’re taller in person than you look on stage.” I’ve heard that hundreds of times. Apparently I sound short. Then they usually say, “You’re not as funny in person.” Pointing out the obvious did nothing to me.

Here’s my point, superficial relationships point out the obvious and inspire nothing new. That’s not the type of ministry we want to be known for as we develop teenage leaders. We want to be leaders who enter into a teenager’s storyline and look for the “could be” in them. We see potential. Potential breeds hope and change and adventure.

When I’m not focused on this, my youth ministry becomes routine and I tend to define teenagers in terms of their problems rather than their potential?

  • “Oh that’s the kid who is always late and talks during my teaching time.”
  • “That’s my kid with the high maintenance mom who has the squeaky voice and painted-on eyebrows.

I want to be the type of leader who sees it, says it, inspires it, and then follows-up on it. That’s what I’m going to write about tomorrow.

What do you think is required of you to be this type of leader? Required of your time, your heart, your relationships?