“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)
When my brother and I were younger (and even now, somewhat) we were avid Wrestling fans. We (and our cousins too) would imitate all the legends… I mean Sting, Ric Flair, Randy Savage (RIP), Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Triple H, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. We were totally obsessed. And if I can be honest, it was through the grace of God and a praying mother that we are still alive from performing some of the dangerous moves we would see on tv or at live events here in Atlanta.
Disclaimer: When the TV Screen says “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME”… it literally means that! Word to the wise!!!
Some of our classic matches, the ones that were memorable and dear to use is when we would create or imitate a Stable with our cousins and friends. Now a stable in wrestling terms means a team/group united in vision. My stable was called D-Pac and my brother’s was called Threat. I know… silly, but work with me. My team was united in vision, that as their leader, I was going to become the World Heavyweight Champion and as a team, we were going to become the Tag Team Champions… and YES, for those of you wondering – our team won. Success! I knew that if I wanted to accomplish my goals and become the World Heavyweight Champion and Tag Champs, I was going to have to surround myself with some people, who understood the importance of allying and working together. Some of the most dominant, creative and talented wrestlers were apart of tag teams or stables. As a matter of fact, majority of them improved and were better because of this “elite” group of men uniting for their championship goal.
This gets me thinking… what if our ministries were like this? Where we as the leader of the team [Student Pastor/Young Adult Pastor] would develop our teams appropriately to accomplish one goal… yet not our goal, but Jesus’ goal. What if we fashion our ministries to work as a team and we really start tag teaming on Satan. What if our World Heavyweight Championship match was Preaching Jesus with authority and passion to this lost generation. And our Tag Team Championship match was teaming up with parents to nurture their students.
All wrestling aside… we are in an epic struggle [battle] were the familiar faces of our generation are fading away & lost. And if the statistics are true, only 4% of this generation will be Bible-believing Christians willing to stand firm on their faith in Jesus. We need leaders, who will get out of the way, stop trying to do ministry alone and team up with other people/ministries and fight [contend] for these young people. Leaders that will get before God and beg him to send them men & women who have His vision, His heart, and His grace so that His Kingdom is built, Jesus’ name glorified and people set free to live abundantly.
3 simple things to remember… Pray for a Team, Build the Team, Invest in the Team
Pray For A Team: Carve out time to wholeheartedly pray and seek God for the leaders who would be on your team. Begin searching for those who would add to the team, making it better.
Build The team: When God reveals the leaders for this team, begin to place them in the right area. Look for their gifts & talents. Ask them about their passions!
Invest In The Team: Pour into them your time, resources, prayers, and energy… making sure they are well nourished. – *more information
Throughout the Bible, God always used team ministry to further his Kingdom… Adam/Eve, Moses/Aaron, Joshua/Caleb, Elijah/Elisha/Jehu, Jesus & His Disciples (and even with the 12, Jesus still had an inner team of 3 with Peter, James, John) Paul/Silas, Barnabas, Timothy and so on. We were not called into ministry to act alone. I’m not talking about so-called “Youth Pastor friends” you only see when the latest “Big” conference is in town… but an authentic relationship with people in YOUR ministry that are willing to sacrifice and dig the trenches with you in your community.
Look at what Solomon had to say about being alone in ministry & life:
7 I turned my head and saw yet another wisp of smoke on its way to nothingness: 8 a solitary person, completely alone-no children, no family, no friends-yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, “Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?” More smoke. A bad business. 9 It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. 10 And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough! 11 Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. 12 By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. Ecclesiastes 4:7-12 MSG
Over the next few blogs, I will outline 5 things I have learned in leadership. These key things have help shape my “philosophy” in youth ministry and overall leadership especially in the church.
INVEST In Your Team
You have a group of people who have the same heart as you do for youth ministry. They all have great personalities and characteristics. Some are artistic/creative while others are thinkers. Some are funny and some are serious. They’re willing, motivated and eager for the challenge ahead…. Now, what? INVEST in them! If you can see yourself doing life with them, invest in them. If you see yourself working with them for the next 5-10 years, invest in them.
This to me is definitely on my top leadership philosophy. Too often Youth/Young Adult Pastors try to do it all by themselves and be the lone ranger… which is very dangerous in ministry! A great leader is as only as great as the team/people around them. I wholeheartedly believe in Team ministry. I am willing to invest in the men/women around me to effectively leverage the individual gifts God has given us to expand His Kingdom. When I want to cultivate my team, I am willing to go out of my way to nourish them. Just as Jesus was the nourishment [resource/substance] for the world.
This is 100% modeled by Jesus with his disciples, especially Peter, James, and John…. How many times did Jesus use simple parables to show them the Kingdom of Heaven? Or how about how many times did Jesus invite Peter & the Sons of Thunder (James & John) to intimate fellowships/journeys with him? These weren’t just times of play and innocent chatter, it was the very moments that shaped these men lives after Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Jesus used everyday moments to teach and invest in His follower’s life. If you want your teams to be successful even to the point to where you are not there… invest in them. Invest your time, energy, money, resource, wisdom and knowledge. Often times you will never know the effect of your investment on them until you aren’t there and they MUST step up to the plate.