The Father-Leader Paradox

The Father-Leader Paradox
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I’m less than a month away from a milestone in my life: my oldest daughter is getting ready to move into the youth ministry.

I don’t know if you’ve thought about the dynamic of being a parent/youth minister, but I have been contemplating it pretty heavily over the past month or two. Here are five wishes I have for my daughter (and for any kid who joins us) as she moves into the youth ministry:

  1. I pray she finds an adult who will pour into and invest in her, that’s not me. I teach her at home. I correct her at home. I lead her at home. I try to speak life into her at home. She needs someone else to do those things at church. She needs an adult who will see her potential, and try to draw it out, working in concert with me as her father.
  2. I pray she keeps a heart willing to serve. As of right now, I don’t have to force her to do things, or at least not many things. She loves to serve. She is happy to go to the church and help with random odd jobs. I hope that never goes away.
  3. I pray she finds friends who build her up, and whom she can build up. Going to school, she may not always be surrounded by positive influences. I hope the other students in the youth ministry pour into and invest in her, and allow her to do the same, regardless of age gap.
  4. I pray she loves being involved. The combination of the three things above carries the potential for her to have a desire and passion to show up. I hope as she progresses through the ministry, that we are able to offer opportunities that keep her emotionally and mentally engaged, and that allow her to grow in her relationship with God.
  5. Finally, I pray that she will grow closer to God as a result of the time she spends in the youth ministry. After all, if I’m scheduling fun activities and not pointing kids to Christ, then I’m just an entertainer.

Now, look back over that list. There are some of those that I, as her youth minister, can influence. That’s why leadership development is so important to me. I want students aware and pouring into other students. I want adults loving on students. I want to provide opportunities to serve, and to create an atmosphere where students are not simply entertained, but challenged.

But I can’t do it alone. You can’t do it alone. We can’t do it alone. Bring people into the leadership discussion in your life. Expand your influence and watch growth happen.

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