Friday, August 5, 2011

Bring Leadership To Life

5 Strategies For Vibrant Leadership In Young Life
A Guest Post by Hugh Jones, Volunteer Leader in North Carolina

Here is a list of essential ingredients to an effective Young Life Ministry:

Understand your calling.
You must be called by Christ to enter the Ministry of Young Life. It can be trying and difficult to be a Young Life leader; if you are not called, you will fail early and often. Your calling is different than your talents, your time, or your resources. It will require a dependence on God for strength and direction. It will sometimes require you abandon the easy or convenient. For more on this, read 1 Corrinthians 1:26 and following.

Connect with the stakeholders.
These folks may be fellow staff, donors, parents, or influential kids. But whoever they are, you must be proactive in keeping them up-to-date on your work, and ask them for prayers and advice, and requesting help when you need it. When in doubt, lean into a few of these folks to help set your priorities—then, stick with your decisions. You should be able to produce a written list of these folks, along with a strategy to keep up with each.

Prioritize in your personal time.
You must find time for space and renewal, without guilt. Otherwise you will burn out. Protect yourself in times of renewal from your phone and other forms of interruption. You also must have the necessities of life: food, sleep, exercise, family time, and peer friendship. Neglect this, and you will be a short timer.

Associate to your strengths.
So you aren't good at everything. That's not a surprise. But how many YL leaders want folks that look/act just like them? So build into your team a diverse set of folks—especially those that play to your weaknesses. This is a difficult task, but you will be rewarded greatly if you diversify. Teams are more effective than individuals—build a great, diverse team.


Define your strategy.
Each of your team members should understand why you are involved with a Young Life club. Are you in a suburban club reaching out to non-church kids? Looking for relationships with urban, disenfranchised high schoolers? Ever wonder why Jesus hung out with tax collectors or the woman in red at the well? Rather than spending time with the kids that are easy, well-connected club kids, your strategy will likely find you chasing the unlikable, socially unacceptable, or down right awkward kid. You must develop a system for prioritizing this work. Or you will end up with the easy and convenient, rather than having an effective strategy for Christ.

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