A couple of days ago there was a blog over at Download Youth Ministry which is a great resource for anyone who works with youth—check it out!

The blog writer, Justin Knowles, shares 5 crucial leadership actions that will help us, not only in ministry, but in our own lives. In the mix of everything—our responsibilities, our schedules, our desiresit can be very easy to feel like were always falling just a bit short of where we want to be. We can often find ourselves a step behind everything. These leadership tools will help equip you get a leg up in your leadership, for yourself and others.

Here is an excerpt from the blog of the 6 “ups” in leadership:

"Step Up- A goal is given to you, but not clear direction. Sometimes we just need to take it and run with it. Step up into it and make it awesome. Make it effective. Someone dropped the ball on something, step up and own it. It shows your team you can take some heat for them and then you can go back with them and walk them through to help avoid it again. You see a student sitting by themselves but you’re busy. Don't let the excuse of, "Surely someone else will talk to them." Step up and be a pastor and care for your flock.

Back Up- Sometimes we just need to back up and evaluate the situation before we rush in and try to fix it. This is my tendency. I want to just get it done. Back up and see what the big picture is and then try again. Sometimes we want teenagers and parents to figure it out. We have the urge to just tell them what you see. Back up, let them work it out. Come alongside them. You are not the students’ parents, they are. You are not a super hero. We wish. Sometimes we need to realize we cannot do some things by ourselves, we need to back up, swallow our pride and get help.

Speak Up- This tends to be one of the harder ones for me. I am a people pleaser. Sometimes when I have a great idea I let it go because I was not asked. I have been trying to speak up more. Same with when I see something that went wrong or is not a good thing, I have been trying to speak up more. Sometimes it will better the organization. Speak up in someone’s life when you see something, in a loving way of course. Sometimes I rather the person not be mad at me instead of being their pastor and help them with sin in their life and walk them through a difficult situation.

Shut Up- I need to work on this too. Sometimes I say things when I shouldn't. Or some things could have been said, but could have been said later, in private, to that person and not in front of everyone. Something I have been working on even more is just shutting up and listening. I am finding the best counseling sessions I have done have been the ones in which I barely said anything and just listened. Instead of jumping in right away with my thoughts on how they should fix it, just shut up and listen and then ask if they want your input.

Show Up- Sometimes we don't need to say anything at all. Just show up. Just like Jobs friends when he was in pain, they didn't say a word and just sat there with him. Show up to that football game or play. Our presence means more to students than we will ever know. 

Pray Up- We sometimes forget this. We are never doing anything by ourselves when we are in ministry unless we make it that way. Pray it up. Every situation, conversation, action or decision, give it God. The Holy Spirit will guide us in our decisions, actions, words and thoughts if we let Him. This one is the most important."

Justin writes this in the context of being a youth pastor, but where do these principles apply in the context of your leadership? How about the context of your families? In your personal life?

Which “up” do you find you excel in?

Which “up” needs the most work?

Evaluate yourself as you look at these 6 principles. Being mindful of where we excel and where we need to do some work will help us to focus in with intention on growing our leadership and ultimately ourselves!