Teaching Others To Dive Into Influence

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Teaching student leaders to answer the 3 questions has been quite a journey. I knew up front I would learn from the process, but never guessed the breadth and depth of what I would stumble across.

One learning, perhaps the most significant to date, is the difficulty of the first question. As a friend commented on a previous post, we have become a society where we are expected not to rock the boat, so we neglect having an awareness of what needs to be done.

On a more basic level, I think some people are born with a propensity to subconsciously ask the first question, whereas others are not. The challenge for us, as leaders, is to discover how those we lead are wired. As we learn who is more likely to self-initiate the first question, we know who we need to urge along the way.

Part of this boils down to having the belief that we can make a difference in a room or situation. If I do not believe I can exert influence, then there is no point in asking the 3 questions. If I, however, DO believe I can make a difference (large or small doesn’t matter to begin with), then the first question becomes my diving board.

So, today I have a few questions for you to think about:

  1. Which person are you? Do you naturally ask the first question, or is it a struggle for you? Be honest with yourself in this, but if I had to guess, you’re reading this because the 3 Questions resonate with you on some level.
  2. Think of three people you lead. One by one, consider whether they naturally ask the first question (whether they know it or not). What are the implications for your influence on them?
  3. Think of 2 people in your realm of influence to whom you can teach the 3 questions. Look for people who are naturally serving in some capacity, and let the questions become their diving board!

The Undercurrent, Part 2

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On Tuesday, I finished my post about the Undercurrent of the 3 Questions with this statement: The goal of leadership is to make the world a better place because of our having been in it. Today, I’d like to explore this idea a little more.

I serve as a youth minister at a small church in a small town, so the majority of my time spent developing leaders is spent with student leaders. Over the last few years I have been teaching our student leadership team to ask themselves the 3 questions, and it has been an interesting process.

The biggest hurdle has been trying to get a 14/15/16/17 year old to buy into the belief that they can make a difference. You see, there’s something scary about trying to lead your peers. There’s something scary about asking them to simply help you accomplish something.

A mindset shift is one of the biggest goals I have for them. I want them to know they can make a difference in a situation. I’m not talking about changing the world in a drastic way, which could happen down the road, but an acknowledging of the current potential in a situation.

My goal for student leaders is for them to understand they have the capability to change the atmosphere in a room. They can do little things to impact those around them, but positive influence rarely happens by accident. Negative influence, on the other hand, is infectious.

I want my student leaders to understand they can make the world a better place, but that starts by making the situations and people around them better.

I want to understand I can make the world a better place, but that starts by making the situations and people around me better.

And I want the same for you. Find a way today to positively influence someone. Make a difference even when you think you cannot. I’m cheering for you.

The Undercurrent of the 3 Questions

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If you have been with me from the beginning, or even for the past few months, you have likely read about the foundation for 3QL. If not, please check it out by clicking here.

The short version is a few years ago I stumbled onto three questions I have since been teaching student leaders. I hope to train and equip student leaders (and adults, too) to change their mindset when encountering different situations.

Here’s why: I believe we, as leaders, can influence the direction of an organization (or a situation) by being intentional. The influence may not provide immediate results, resulting in a painstakingly slow process, but it can be done.

Let’s think about this another way: when I become part of something, I want it to get better. How do I help make it better? By increasing my awareness (what needs to be done), my willingness (what can I do), and my leadership (who can I get to help).

One of my main goals is to raise up a generation of leaders who get involved, stay involved, and when they leave, leave things better because they were there. In student ministry, the results seem simple enough to measure. In the real world, however, things are usually trickier.

But the question has to start with me: am I making the things around me better? Am I equipping and training other people to accomplish what I’m accomplishing? Am I hogging responsibilities and thus preventing someone else from doing something they love? Am I setting my church (and not just the student ministry) up to win because of my time spent serving?

The goal of leadership is to make the world a better place because of our having been in it. What are you doing to equip those around you to be influencers and not participators? What steps can you take this week to help others grow their influence?

Books that Altered My Path

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I have recently experienced a renewed interest in reading. Now, I am not reading through an inordinate number of books, but I am trying to stretch my mind by reading.

But today I thought I would share one of the books that has had the largest and most enduring impact on my ministry. I remember reading this around 2008, and the concepts are still shaping the way I preach today. So, here it is: Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley.

This is a book on preaching. Sounds riveting, right? Actually, it turns into a pretty quick read. The book itself is divided into two parts. The first part is a story that seeks to introduce the concept of the second part, which is the nuts and bolts of the approach.

You can search for in depth reviews of the book, but for the purpose of this post, I am going to share two things that have shaped my ministry as a result of reading it.

First, I don’t have to teach every idea in a passage in one message. Andy tells a story in the book about he and his wife visiting a church and on the way home saying “That was a good series in one sermon.” Sometimes, as communicators, we can overwhelm our audience with too much information. It is okay to take our time and unpack concepts over weeks.

The second lasting impact from this book is to develop a simple, portable, and memorable statement. The statement should be emphasized throughout the message, should be relevant, and should be simple. A few statements I have developed over the years are: God loves you and desires a relationship with you; Worship is the way you live your life; Words reveal intent. Actions reveal heart; and You can’t see the end from the middle.

Bottom line: this book is worth your time, especially if you teach/preach/communicate on a regular basis. I keep extra copies in my office anytime I find it on sale. If you haven’t read it before, click below and buy it today!

 

Incoherent Ramblings

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I’ve never actually spent any time explaining my categories, so let’s change that.

One of my favorite categories developed last year as I had an intern. As we began the process, I wanted to make sure I was not just assigning her some work to do, but instead was taking time to share with her things I have learned over the years.

So, in order to accomplish that goal, I started making a list of different lessons and tips I have picked up and developed. We carved out time each week to sit down and I would share my “Incoherent Ramblings”.

The topics ranged anywhere from lessons learned in ministry (Don’t let someone’s character surprise you and Don’t hide from hard conversations) to more practical tips (like this one from last week on fundraising). But, there was a nice consistency to the meeting time.

Here on the blog, so much of what I write about falls into the Incoherent Rambling territory. I don’t have to say that I have yet to figure everything out, but I do love learning along the way.

So, today, what would be on your list of incoherent ramblings? What are some tips and tricks you have picked up along the way, the things you think need to be communicated and passed on to the next generation? Have you started a list?

Leave a comment and let me know what you would include!

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