How to be Taken Seriously as a Leader

Being a youth worker is not always the glamorous ministry position. There are times when some of us have experienced the feeling of not being taken seriously by pastors, parents, and church members. When I first set out in student ministry I desired to be taken seriously and accepted as a viable member of a church staff. I longed to be seen as leader who, (even though I was young), had wisdom and could be trusted by the adults, (or shall we say, the more ‘senior’ people in my life). The fact is, when we are young (or in a new position) in leadership, often it can feel like hard work to gain acceptance as a legitimate leader in ministry.

So what are we to do with this reality?

1) Realize that this is path of the course. You’re not alone. All of us at some point have to earn our stripes. One day the time will come when they say you have the leadership, but the kids think you are old… Enjoy this season if you are still in it…

2) Leadership is about trust… Trust takes time: No matter where I have been, or how old I am, I realise that people need to know and trust me before they can be led by me. I have been at my current church for just over a year now. In my first year I committed to not making any major changes (unless emergencies), until a year had passed. This went a long way with youth leaders, students and parents. Whether you are seasoned youth worker or not, people will follow when they trust you… it takes time…

3) Avoid using “when I” statements: I have been guilty of justifying my decisions by talking about my track record from the past. When I was younger I would often refer to accomplishments I had made in my short experience as a way to gain acceptance of an idea. Now that I look back, I realise that it only came across as insecure and showed my lack of experience. Note: I think it is perfectly fine to talk about ideas that have worked in the past, but when it is gain greater leadership acceptance and  fill the hole of inexperience, the truth will likely be seen by others…

4) It really does take time: I can’t say it enough… If we want people to follow, realize that greater leadership and experience must run it’s course. Relax, take it easy, enjoy your ministry and enjoy growing…

5) Have such integrity that people will believe what you say… From the words of Wiersbe, ensure that people see your ingretity. I have found that even while people will point out leadership flaws in my ministry, they are still willing to go on a journey with me when they know they can trust my integrity…

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2 Responses to How to be Taken Seriously as a Leader

  1. J.C. Thompson April 23, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    2 things:

    Great post! Number 3 was like a good ol punch to the face, hahaha.

    Second you’ve got some code showing at the top, looks like google analytics code. (just wanted to help you out, not a criticism)

    Great thoughts, keep it up!

  2. youthworktalk April 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    J.C! Thanks mate! Yes, number 3 is a tough one isn’t it. I speak from experience on this one. I have never had a good punch in the face, but I will take your word for it :o)

    I took out the analytics code. Not sure if it will impact my tracking or not. We’ll see. Thanks for catching that! :o)

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