Building Trust

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One of the joys of leadership is bringing new people alongside and letting them lead. One of the risks in leadership is deciphering how much rope a new person should be given.

So, how do we decide how much freedom to give a new person? Easy – relationships.

Occasionally, as leaders, we have to trust someone whom we do not know to step up and lead. One year ago I was hired by a church to come in and lead the student ministry. Our relationship was starting essentially from scratch, and so there was a built in level of trust that was necessary for me to start my job.

But the reality was (and continues to be), trust is built through relationships. As I have (hopefully) shown myself to be a trustworthy leader, I benefit from more and more responsibility.

The same is true as I’ve brought on new people to lead in the student ministry here. As we’ve gotten to know each other better, I’m learning what I can and cannot give away.

But it all starts with relationship.

This is both the most challenging and most rewarding part of leadership, because at the end of the day if we are not building relationships with other people, we have no leadership influence.

Relationships are messy. They take time. They rarely have easy answers. Everyone is unique, no matter how much they remind of us people from our past. But relationships unlock potential.

As a leader, if you are interested in growing your influence, continually build relationships. Be careful not to give too much rope, but at the same time, you’ll be amazed at how high capacity people have a high desire to serve. In other words, if you never give away responsibility, you run the risk of losing your best people.

So, what relationships do you need to work on this week? Maybe it’s building trust with new team members. Maybe it’s checking in with consistent leaders. Maybe it’s pouring into someone who is feeling empty. Maybe it’s have a conversation to realize someone is feeling empty.

Whatever step you need to take to further a relationship, do it today!

Learn and Grow

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Short post today, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about mistakes and mishaps. I blog on this regularly, partly because it’s a fear of mine.

I fear mistakes. I fear a mistake means I’m not good enough. I fear a mistake means I’m not valuable.

Ultimately, I don’t fear failure. I fear surrendering to failure. Until I learn to reframe my fear, I will never be able to grow.

Great leaders know failure is part of life. So take that step today. Have that conversation that may not go your way. Learn from it and grow.

3 People Who Need a Note From You

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Hey, you there. You reading this. I’m talking to you. Today’s post isn’t a pie in the sky theoretical thing. It’s a nuts and bolts post. Aimed directly at Student Pastors, but applicable to anyone in leadership.

Did you know the most read post on my blog in 2017 was about taking time to say thank you? I think most people resonate with the challenge of thanking people around us, but find it difficult to make it a regular part of our routine.

On Tuesday, I posted about the effectiveness of hand written notes and challenged you to write one note. Well, today, let’s look at three different types of people who need a note from you.

Your Youth Workers and Volunteers

These people are the real heroes of youth ministry. Their role is crucial to any success or growth you may experience. Don’t believe me? Try serving in a church where you cannot pay a volunteer to show up versus a church where you’re able to establish a 1 adult to 3 students ratio–the difference is staggering.

Take time to show your appreciation for these incredible people who work full time jobs and volunteer their time. Write them all a note at one time, or tell yourself you’re going to write one or two each week. Whatever it takes.

Your Students

You may not have continual contact with students, but you can make their day by sending them a note. One story in particular comes to mind: I sent a note to a student when she was in 8th grade, just to let her know I was praying for her. Around five years later, we were visiting while she was home from college, and she told me she still had that note. You never know what a student might need to hear, or just being reminded that you’re praying for them.

Your Family

I alluded to this previously, but if I can make my daughters feel special with a note, why wouldn’t I do that? The same is true for my wife and my family. You may not have children or even a spouse, but I bet you have family of some sort that would love to get a note from you. Write a thank you or a “thinking of you” note to an aunt or uncle who played a significant role in your life and you’ll have the chance to be a blessing to them.

 

So, there you go. Pick a category, and write another note today. It’s worth the time it will take to write, trust me!

 


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When Mistakes Are Not Mistakes, pt 3

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We’ve all been there–the frustration of leading. You pour hours into a project or event or relationship, only to experience sub-par results. Or you have to make a decision in the moment, only to realize later you made the wrong choice. Anyone who has been in a leadership role can identify.

Today, we continue looking at a few mistakes we make in leadership, that even though they feel like a colossal failure in the moment, they are actually not mistakes. (Click here for part 1 and part 2.)

Asking for Help

When you interact with leaders, you begin to see a common thread among some–I cannot ask for help because it will make me look weak. Or, for a few others, the mindset seems to be “Why ask someone else when I can do this better than they can?” Still others view asking for help as a sign of weakness, or worse, and admission of being incapable of accomplishing a task.

I have written about this idea several times, but it bears repeating. So, pay attention:

You will never grow your leadership influence if you never ask for help.

Sure, you have a specific set of skills. Sure, you are good at what you do. Sure, you enjoy what you do. But if you never allow the people around you to step up, to serve, and to grow, before long you will either have no one left, or the only people left will be people who expect everything to be done for them.

Think of it this way: if I can do something at 90% efficiency and I pass it off to a student, they might be able to do it at 75% efficiency at the beginning. But over time, if that something turns into a passion for them, they will likely move to 95% efficiency, or higher.

Just because you can do something does not mean you’re the only person who can do it. Yes, you need to find the two or three things only you can do and embrace them, but ask for help with the rest!

What are you holding onto today that needs to be let go?

 

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Connect with Other Leaders

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I got to spend the first part of my week at the Texas Baptist Youth Ministry Conclave in Arlington this week. For years I have always gone with the intent of connecting with friends and picking some insight up along the way.

This year, I was reminded why I enjoy connecting with other ministers.

I worked the booth for Horizon Camps and Resources, so I was able to interact with a variety of people. We gave away YooHoo (the official camp drink of Horizon Camps), but the better part was being able to reconnect with friends I have developed along the way.

One minister, in particular, I engage several times each year, but Tuesday I realized how much we had in common, and I was grateful for an opportunity to process some things together.

Today’s lesson is a simple one, but it’s this: connect with other leaders. If you are able to network regularly, keep it up! If you are one of the people who naturally engage with others, embrace that.

But, if you’re like me, I intentionally force myself to connect. Not because I think I am better, but because connections do not come easily for me.

Who are two leaders with whom you identify and respect? What would it take to call them up and invite them to coffee, or to do a video call if the distance is too great?

The truth is we pursue what is important to us. If growth is important, you will pursue it. If connection is important, you will pursue it. If relationship is important, you will pursue it. But, if your priorities are somewhere else, you will avoid the others out of necessity.

Make connecting with other leaders an intentional part of you life and priorities, and see what happens next.

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