youth worker, youth ministry, small

Think Small

By Doug Franklin March 15, 2013

We live in a world where bigger is better. So we try and have youth ministry events with the most students possible. This works for a music concert but will never work for leadership development. It’s possible to do a leadership type activity for a large group of students, but it won’t be transformational. Sure students will have fun and move around but they won’t be able to make applications that will lead to growth. Most students will be able to hide in the large group and won’t think they could learn something new. So what you are left with is a workshop without any leadership experiences, all you have is someone talking about leadership, and while that is nice you won’t be moving anyone from non-leader to leader. At LeaderTreks we get requests to hold large leadership development workshops for students, where 50 to 150 are always the numbers thrown out. I say no because you can’t develop students into leaders in large groups. For leadership development to take root, you need both teaching of leadership principles and a leadership experience. I say it like this, “Principles + Experiences = Leadership Development.” For students to grow from a leadership experience you need a facilitator who can personalize and challenge students. If you can’t personalize the experience you can’t debrief the experience. The one size fits all mentality that comes with large groups won’t work.

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