One of my favorite pastimes is reading leadership books and listening to leadership podcasts. Because, in my mind, I am a high capacity leader. The more that I read and the more that I listen, the more I am coming to an awful conclusion, I am not a high capacity leader. And I am willing to bet that you aren’t either.
The leaders who write the books and make the podcasts are the best in their industry. They have proven themselves as leaders through decades of hard work, and incremental gains that have snow balled into exponential growth, to where they are now writing books and making podcasts. As youth workers, by our very nature, by our very call, and by our place in our organization, chances are we are not high capacity leaders.
And the reason that this is important for us to grasp is that while we are striving so hard to be incredible leaders, we are actually diminishing the potential impact we can have in our current context. You see, your students don’t care if you are a high capacity leader, your volunteers don’t care either. And you know who really doesn’t care, your lead pastor.
As a youth worker you are simply part of a system.
If your lead pastor is a high capacity leader then they will have a healthy system that you will benefit from, and if they are simply an average leader, then that will be the system you will live in. Either way, you lead one small part of the organization. If you are in a large church context, your success is 90% that of your system, and if you are in a small church system, your youth group size is 90% of that system.
Listening to podcasts and reading books will not change the size or scope of your ministry. You are simply called to love students and help them love Jesus within the current system. The more energy you spend into striving to become a high capacity leader, the more you will fool yourself into thinking you are more important or powerful than you really are.
Be faithful to your context, and work hard at serving your students and your leaders.
If, by some fluke chance you are truly a high capacity leader, then chances are you are not reading this blog, you are not working at a small to medium sized church, and that your days in student ministry are numbered.
I am thankful for the high capacity leaders who set the bar, start the trends, and are the point of the spear in our industry. They challenge and encourage us, and help us do our jobs better. We should always strive to learn and grow as leaders, and who best to learn from then the high capacity leaders in our industry.
But thinking we are more than we really are will often blind us to the actual ministry God has called us to do.