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What Every Young Youth Worker Needs to Know

By Doug Franklin November 21, 2016

You want to change the world. Your dreams are big, your work ethic is strong, and your confidence has never been higher. You’re ready to see your potential reached and your influence maximized.

I get it. I’ve been there.

But slow down. I need you to realize a couple of things before you start charging up the mountain.

It takes more than ambition to be an influential leader; it takes humility. Your success depends on how quickly you step into the shoes of your more experienced superiors and learn from their hard-earned wisdom and perspective.

Be quick to honor the past. Older generations value experience and time served. Remember, they earned their positions through hard work and patience, and when you demand more responsibility without putting in the time, you toss their values in the trash.

Take advantage of the “here and now.”  You have responsibilities in your current position, even if they aren’t flashy, and those responsibilities require your full energy, creativity, and attention. Don’t ignore the time that you have; there’s no such thing as wasted time or a worthless opportunity. If you can make lemonade out of lemons in less glamorous roles, it won’t take long for people to see your ideas and give you more opportunities to use your influence.

“Don’t ignore the time that you have; there’s no such thing as wasted time.”

Take time to humbly learn. Most good leaders are thrilled that younger employees are excited to innovate, experiment, and explore new ideas. They rely on your enthusiasm to take the ministry new places, but your first priority must be to learn. Only with experience can you truly understand a ministry’s culture, history, strengths, and weaknesses. Don’t be so eager to lead that you forgo this essential time of learning; you’ll only make yourself vulnerable to hundreds of catastrophic mistakes.

At the end of the day, the degree to which you are influenced by Christ is the degree to which you will influence others. If you reject wisdom, dismiss learning opportunities, and push your own agenda, you’re unlikely to lead students towards Christ.

Proverbs 2:3 says, “Yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

Let that be the wisdom that guides your steps. By all means, continue charging up the mountain, but, as you do, look closely for the footprints of those who have gone ahead of you.

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