youth ministry, youth worker, obstacles

3 obstacles to healthy leadership

By Doug Franklin January 4, 2013

This is an article written by my friend Kenny Baker. Kenny is the youth pastor at Judson Baptist Church, a multiethnic congregation on the dividing line of Oak Park and Austin neighborhoods of Chicago. He has been involved in youth ministry for the past decade. He has the desire to develop healthy leadership in the local church.

Lack of vision
Vision is often understood as a skill of communicating direction.

But in regards to church leadership,  Vision is communicated obedience.

Crawford Loritt’s in his book “Leadership as an Identity”  says, “God gives us assignments and gives us the responsibility of leading others to implement that work. To be a leader is a sacred trust. And here is the key: God’s priorities are so different, so supernatural, that only He can fulfill them.”

God’s vision for the youth group is far beyond what you and I could imagine. Our best option as leaders is to pursue God so intensely that we cannot help but communicate His vision. Roy Hession said it best “but if we will go back to Calvary and learn afresh the power of the blood of Jesus to cleanse moment by moment from the beginnings of sin, then we have learned the secret of cups constantly cleansed and constantly overflowing.”

When we are not pressing toward the cross and his kingdom, the vision we communicate is worldly, incomplete, and ultimately disobedience. Don’t be distracted with successful youth ministry.

Be obedient to The Lord in His calling of you and you will communicate a kingdom vision from The Lord.

Pride (Surface & Sediment)
Many youth leaders will admit that they are flawed. We might even admit to a little bit of pride. I call that surface pride. It’s the flaws and arrogance that we will admit to and even allow others to hold us accountable.

For many of us, this surface pride manifests itself in a lack of discipline, criticism of our leaders, and bad decisions made in youth ministry. Though there is some merit in admitting surface pride, there is a deeper issue.

Sediment pride is the self-centered, dark remnants of our former nature that clouds our hearts when we are bumped, tested, and tired. Think of it as a clear glass full of water that has a sediment at the bottom. It lays unnoticed and dormant until its bumped, then it clouds everything.

Sediment pride is that rootedness of entitlement and self-centeredness.

When we lack community and accountability as youth leaders, isolation is the result. Discouragement and sin will eventually be the result of isolation.

The first step to a solution to isolation is prayer. If you find yourself in a new place or all of your old friends have moved on, you must pray for God’s provision of community and accountability. The only times you saw Jesus in isolation…he was in prayer! (Luke 5:16, 6:12, 9:18; Mark 1:35)

The next step to avoiding isolation is being vulnerable. You have to put yourself out there to the right people. Vulnerability is difficult especially if you have been burned or hurt. Just remember that you must trust The Lord in his provision and not in people to fulfill or satisfy what only he can.

Ultimately, leadership is a gift from The Lord that we must steward well through obedience, repentance, and community.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More