As a dad of two maturing boys who are entering into puberty which means they are wanting to push some boundaries and "strut their stuff" I'm seeing that asking my sons to do certain things isn't as easy as it used to be.
I've had to raise my voice, leverage discipline consequences & I am also having deeper conversations about character development with choices and actions they are making. I care that my sons have character, integrity and work hard. I also expect & want them to mess up, it's how we all learn.
However I really don't like when the line is crossed and I have to dictate to my sons what they must do. I feel like an ogre and do not feel that we are working together as a family.
14 years of serving in student ministry as given ample opportunities for me to experience the world of teenagers being asked to serve, go on a missions trip, join a small group, lead their peers and just show up to events…but the ask doesn't always matter.
I don't like the feeling of dictating to students what they must do. I prefer asking them to join a team that is wanting to impact their world. Once they are on that team finding out what their passions, gifting and talents are that'll bless and benefit that team.
I want to lead people well. I want to lead students towards a healthy life focussed on Christ. I want to build a setting where people want to be a part of what is going on as an insider, not an observer.
So how can we as leaders work without being forced to pull the I AM IN CHARGE FOLLOW ME card?
Here's a few hints that I am using;
1--When you ask someone to do something that is out of their norm take the time to over explain. People need time to process and nobody every understands something completely the first time through.
2--Listen, Listen & Listen to people. Invite their thoughts, ideas, strategies, fears, questions and concerns into public breathing space. Work through them as a team and approach it from a "we are in this together" perspective.
3--Lead with sweat and time, not just your voice. Join people in the dirty work. Rub shoulders with them and celebrate them in the midst of working together. DO NOT patronize them from afar or even throw a half hearted good job their well, they'll see through that quickly.
4--Remind every one of the Mission, Vision & Values consistently It'll reinforce the boundaries everyone can play within as well as help keep everyone focussed on what is important.
5--Live, Laugh & Love together. Remember there is more than just getting a job done and that relationships deepen the investment of all aspects of life.
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