youth worker, youth ministry, leadership, underground, student leadership, student ministry


By Doug Franklin October 16, 2012

Before you build a house, you have to dig out the foundation and pour concrete for the house to sit on.  The foundation almost never gets seen.  Its buried deep, and holds everything else in place.

Sometimes, if the foundation wasn’t poured right, or if the ground shifts, the foundation gets cracked or weakened.  Water seeps in, mold develops, and the whole house can become dangerous to live in.  It doesn’t matter what design you have, how many square feet, hot tubs or TVs.  If the foundation is cracked, your house isn’t worth much.

What’s underground matters.  What’s underneath the layers of our looks, our circle of friends,  and the many faces we let others see, is a foundation that is either healthy or not.  It can either withstand a storm, or it will let water seep in and grow mold.

As leaders, what’s underground makes all the difference in the changes we want to make, and the people we want to lead.  When a leader has a crack in the foundation, it won’t go unnoticed for long.  When wrong motives, selfish gain, or pride seep in, the rest of their leadership will grow mold and could cost them everything.

We’ve all seen these leaders.  Some of us have had the “pleasure” of following them.  In the end, their leadership was ineffective.  It probably cost friendships and respect, and it probably didn’t make a positive impact in the team or in the area they were leading.  In many cases, these types of leaders look legit and great on paper.  They would be the kind of house that has a flat screen in every room.  But the divisiveness and empty promises that come from them reveal what’s really underground.

What’s underground is the most important part of leading people and making impact.  Without a strong foundation, all the skills, gifts, personality traits, and connections in the world, can’t cover up what’s underneath.


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