student ministry, youth ministry, developing student leaders

Uncovering Leadership Potential

By Doug Franklin October 28, 2013

Not a day goes not go by when I don’t think to myself, I wish I had more leaders on my team. I know the difference between participants and leaders. Participants want to know what the job is and they get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible for them. Leaders want to to know what the job is but they think about purpose and values and they work to get things done in a way that benefits others. Leaders are owners; they are the first to show up and the last to leave. They are driven by results and how their service will benefit others.

So how do we find new leaders? Well most churches use the, “hope they show up” strategy. This is a time-tested way of doing nothing. Hope is not a strategy, it’s a, “I’m giving up because I don’t see anyone ready for leadership” mentality.

“Ready” for leadership is an urban legend. People don’t just one day become “ready” for leadership. How does that happen? It’s like tad poles becoming a monkey one day and humans the next.

Leaders are not born, they are developed and if you want more of them you are going to have to develop them. It’s the most important action you can take to grow your ministry.

To uncover leadership in someone start by looking for passion. This is the key ingredient. Without passion any level of skill is worthless. Say I have great potential in playing piano but I don’t have passion. How long will I stick to it? Not long right? The key to anything is passion because passion will keep you going when failure is all around you. You will only be great at something and able to lead others if you stick to it through failure because failure is the great teacher.

Second, look for humility. Today’s leadership is not about command and control; it’s much harder than that. Leadership is about motivating people to do something they would not do on their own, while building a relationship of trust.  The only way I have seen this done is through humility. I am calling people to something bigger than themselves and that includes me. In-fact I need to act as a humble servant willing to care for people at the same time as I am challenging them to get out of their comfort zone.

Finally, I look for people with a wound. People who have a maturity brought on by tragedy. These folks have faced the lion or bears of this world and even though they were wounded by the experience they are ready to fight giants. Young King David was this kind of leader. Often these folks feel unqualified for leadership because of their wound, but a little time in God’s word and they soon see how God can use them.  These folks are special, don’t ever overlook them.

Leaders are needed in every ministry in our churches. They will not magically show up at your church. I believe the one of the great challenges of the next 20 years in the life of the church will be creating leaders.

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