youth worker, youth ministry, vulnerability

Vulnerability in Leadership

By Doug Franklin May 13, 2011

Last night I had the opportunity to lead our youth group through the second week of Youth Ministry 360’s Engage study, a four week study on being in the world, but not of the world. The last two weeks have resulted in some of the best discussions we’ve had all year. I’ve been so encouraged to see our students open up to the challenges that are presented to them. Last night we spent time studying Ephesians 2:1-7. We dove deep into the verses, pulling out the truth soaked into the words Paul had written. After a while of open discussion, we spent some time in silence, having everyone write down on a piece of paper what the ‘world’ looked like their own lives and how it affected how they were living, and to pray through how God would want them to give up these strongholds. It was a really powerful time for our students, and for myself.

Too often when I show up to volunteer at youth group, my words get away from me. I use sarcasm too much. And I know it damages my relationship with the students. As I sat there last night with my piece of paper, I kept coming back to the way I use my words and the negative effects they have on my relationships with students. After our time of silence, I pulled the whole group back together and did something that was really hard. I apologized. I told my students how sorry I was for using my words in a negative way and asked for their forgiveness. As I spoke I noticed genuine smiles on some of their faces, as if telling me with their expressions they forgave me. And then the loudest boy in the circle yelled out, “I forgive you Dan!” and everyone else chimed in too.

Vulnerability in leadership is always hard, but I discovered last night how rewarding it is too. I have the challenge in front of me now to use my words for good, with the groundwork been laid for improving those relationships.

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