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youth ministry, student ministry, student leadership

Leadership Didn’t Do It

By Doug Franklin October 1, 2013

When I am speaking to students, I like to ask them, “How many of you have a negative feeling about leadership?” Usually, most of the room raises their hand. So we are trying to teach leadership to a group of people who dislike leadership.

It’s important that we realize how students feel about leadership. When I ask them why, they tell me it’s because of all the bad things they have seen leaders do. Their student government is a joke. Band and drama leaders are based on talent, not caring for people. Sports leadership is given to top performers and popular students. Students see the apathy of teachers and divorce among parents. Their government seldom solves anything, so they think leadership is bad. And we are trying to teach them that leadership is great and they should be one? No wonder they are not listening.

We must separate leaders from leadership. If we have any chance of teaching good, servant leadership to our students, we must find a way to teach them about a different kind of leadership.

Students see leadership as command and control. One person tells everyone else what to do. This is not real leadership. In fact, this is leadership at its worst. We need to teach students that real leadership is about caring for others; it is helping peers understand how they are wired and encouraging them to use their gifts for the glory of God. Real leaders challenge followers to make a difference by acting as Jesus acts. When students get this view of leadership, they will begin to understand why they hate the world’s leadership so much.

Leaders have made a ton of mistakes. Leadership has never done anything to hurt anyone.

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