youth ministry, student ministry, leadership development

Grow Your Leadership – Grow Your Influence

By Doug Franklin October 10, 2013

I seldom meet a youth worker who doesn’t want to grow their influence. They want students to follow them, and they want parents to trust them. They even want the church leadership to give them more say when it comes to how the church works. Youth workers understand the culture more than other church leaders, and they have great ideas on how to make the church more effective.

But sadly, no one is listening. Those in church leadership think the youth worker is a goofball who likes to play with kids. Parents think the youth worker is good, but they are suspicious of his behavior. Students just think he fun and a great guy to hang-out

The way to receive more influence is not to complain and tell your friends no one cares about you at church. The way to get more influence is to grow your leadership. I have heard a few folks say leadership has nothing to do with youth ministry, or you don’t need leadership as a youth worker because you’re truly only a manager. These folks are dead wrong, and to think that leadership is not part of your job will ultimately get you fired. Churches want leaders in all critical ministry positions.

Here are three ideas on how to grow your leadership:

1. Have a ministry strategy that you can easily communicate and that you follow. When I was a youth worker, my strategy was “Reach, Grow, Go.” Every event on our calendar was marked a “Reach” event, a “Grow” event, or a “Go” event. This way our strategy was communicated every time a parent used the calendar. I would also state the ministry event in the bulletin announcements; this way, everyone in the church knew I had a plan, and I was following it.

2. Don’t hold Parent Meetings, have Parent Solution Nights. Ask a Christian college to come in and put on a seminar about paying for college. All the colleges have these and are willing to do it for free. Parents need this kind of help. Spend the first 10 minutes of the meeting covering your calendar and what is happening in the youth ministry, then turn the rest of your time over to the college rep. Parents will love you for it. Another idea: ask the local school principal or guidance counselor to come in and share what is happening at the school. Again, parents need this kind of help. Give it, and it will grow your leadership.

3. Serve when they least expect it. Go to the senior nights (old folks night) and help with the dinners. Offer to help with nursery or children’s program. Whatever it takes. I know this is a big challenge for many of you because you already think you’re too busy; but if you want to grow your leadership, this is what you do. Leadership will not be given to you, and positional leadership will never give you influence. Real leadership is taken by those who want to have influence. Decide now, and if you chose not to go the extra mile, then please stop complaining about people not listening to you at church.


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