Will You Lean Into Momentum?

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One of the things that has shocked me was how old I was when I first read John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I’m ashamed to admit that it was only a couple years ago. As I read about each law, so many of them made sense, but a few went further than that.

For example, Law 16 is the Law of the Big Mo. Simply put, Maxwell says, momentum is a leader’s best friend.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this law lately. We are starting to see some momentum building in our ministry, and so I’ve been asking myself how I can make the most of the momentum we are sensing. Is there some way to take the momentum and curtail it into growth? Is there some way to replicate the momentum down the road? How long should I wait to act?

I’m starting to see momentum all around me. The way things progress and grow (momentum building). The way things slow down (momentum waning). The way I handle things in those moments–my response, my actions, my inaction.

So today I have two questions for you: Where is the momentum around you? And how can you make the most of the natural momentum you’re seeing?

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Where Do We Start?

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

So much of my experience in developing leaders comes from working with teenagers. Over the past two years, as I have talked with other youth workers, I have started to notice a common thread in a few of our conversations:

The necessity for a student to show a readiness to lead before being given opportunities.

My approach to developing student leaders takes a slightly different path. Instead of waiting for students to show a competency for leadership, I have tried to redefine leadership potential.

I treat teenagers as though they are capable of taking a leadership role, regardless of their age. Why? Because, they are capable of leadership regardless of age. Yes, Juniors and Seniors are more mature and can exhibit stronger leadership, but what are we missing by not developing those Juniors and Seniors as 8th and 9th graders?

I’m so grateful that in 9th grade my youth minister gave me the opportunity to start developing my leadership and passion for Christ. It was a decision and discussion that set my life on a path I never would have dreamed.

Who do you need to give an opportunity this week? What are you waiting for?

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Avoid Answering No For Someone Else

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but rejection is a terrible thing. Working up the courage to ask someone for help can be exhausting, and it’s only made worse when they say no. But there is something that hurts more than asking and being told no: never asking.

Because I fear rejection, often times I catch myself trying to reason my way out of asking someone for help. “They are not going to have time” or “They wouldn’t want to do that” becomes the refrain I tell myself.

The reality, however, is I will never know how someone will respond especially if I never ask. If I tell myself “they will say no, so why bother”, then their answer will always be no.

But, when I ask, they now have the opportunity to say yes. And who knows, I could get surprised.

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Don't Hide

Don’t Hide from Hard Conversations

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

Have you ever had a meeting scheduled that you dreaded all day? Maybe it’s a yearly review, a potentially explosive situation, or a conversation you are fully expecting to go south. Over the years, I have learned the difficult lesson to not run away from difficult conversations.

A few years ago a terrible situation arose at Penn State University that cost many people their jobs, and left a disastrous effect on several young boys. Through such a terrible situation, we learn an important lesson with implications for both youth ministry and the church as a whole.

We could look at the Penn State situation and pass judgment on those involved who did not adequately report or act. But judgment is not ours to pass.

We could, standing on the outside, lament the state of our nation and the depravity of “those sinners”. But again, judgment is not ours to pass.

We can, however, put ourselves in the shoes of the leadership. Child molestation is a terrible act, and churches are not immune to sexual predators. So, ask yourself, how would you respond if someone informed you of inappropriate acts between an adult and a child?

I remember, very vividly, having a situation arise at a previous church where inappropriate statements were made between an adult and a teenager. I was informed of the situation, and discussed steps with my pastor. Both families were church members, and the conversations that laid ahead were less than appealing. So we waited for the “right time” to meet with each side. Unfortunately for us, the “right time” did not arrive before the “necessary time”. We drug our feet, and in the end, acted out of necessity rather than concern, and damage was done.

Side note: the situation referenced here was nothing illegal. It fell into that gray space of needed to be addressed, but no one was in danger and no law was being broken.

We avoided the hard conversations. We knew we would be uncomfortable, so we waited. I wonder if the officials at PSU were in the same boat. They did not want to have the tough conversation, so they waited for the “right time” and instead found the “necessary time”.

The “right time” and the “necessary time” are two contrasting opportunities. The “right time” is much more of a gamble. I have a tendency to justify waiting by saying I am waiting for the right time. The right time, however, comes before the necessary time.

The “necessary time”, too often, means we have acted too late. When we wait to respond, we find ourselves stuck in a situation where we have to react to the chaos around us. When we take care of business at the appropriate time, we find ourselves able to help guide the conversation forward.

The principle we can learn is this: the hard conversation, though uncomfortable and daunting, is much easier than waiting for the time bomb to blow.

Do not be afraid to have the hard conversation. In my experience, actually, I have started realizing the moment I dread a conversation is a sign I need to act.

What conversation are you dreading? What conversation do you need to have? What situation makes you uncomfortable but needs to be addressed? Make time this week to bathe it in prayer, and pray for God’s guidance and strength to act.

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It’s Time to Start Somewhere

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I started the Three Question Leadership Blog 4 years ago. I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing some of my first posts, in their entirety, here. Whether you’re new or have been with me all along, I hope you find these concepts applicable.

I am a thinker. I have a terrible tendency to be able to argue both sides, even when they don’t need to be argued. Because of my propensity to think, I joke that I spend 90% of my time thinking about what I could do, and 10% actually doing it.

Thinking about things all the time has benefits. Often, I can think through a situation and find a new way of looking at it. I enjoy hearing how other people think so I can see if there is something I can learn from how they process and proceed.

There are downsides to thinking about things 90% of the time–you actually only act on what you’re thinking 10%. That leads to plenty of mental development, but very little real life occurrence.

That’s where the principle for today’s post came into my life. I don’t know if you’re wired like me, but I think there is a little truth in what I’m about to say. I’ve made this my new mantra, especially when there’s something I would much rather just think about doing than actually doing.

Are you ready? Here it is: Start Somewhere.

Sounds simple enough, right? You would be amazed at how many times it has helped me move from thinking to action.

For example, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a student leadership team. I’ve tried one at past churches with moderate success, but never had a set structure I wanted to follow.

Where I serve now, it’s pretty fun to look back at the growth of our student leadership team. The first two or three years was just a trip at the beginning of summer. Then, two summers ago we added monthly meetings. This year, we’ve added weekly meetings and have really started to hit our stride.

But we would not be where we are today if I hadn’t started somewhere.

The crazy thing about starting somewhere is your start is not your final product. I never start something with the mindset that it is going to be perfect from the beginning. But, if I want a program, event, relationship, or opportunity to reach full potential, it will not happen until I start somewhere.

You may not be wired this way. Maybe you spend 90% of your time doing things and only 10% thinking. (If so, I think we would make a great team.)  Your “start somewhere” may be to put a little more thought into something before you start it.

Maybe you have a habit of starting things and never finishing them. So your “start somewhere” would be to pick one project and actually finish it.

I am not saying my way is the only way. I am asking, though, for you to evaluate yourself. Are you more of a thinker or a doer? Could the principle of “start somewhere” apply in your life? If so, where?

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