Why Youth Pastors Need to Multiply Leadership

Why Youth Pastors Need to Multiply Leadership

How do you know if you need to multiply leadership? Does any of this sound familiar? Exhausted, alone and too many people are coming at you for too much stuff.
The weight of responsibilities is dragging your shoulders to the dirt.
If only there were others to share the burden.

If this is you, then you are not alone. About 4,000 years ago a great spiritual leader was gently rebuked by his father-in-law as he wrestled with the same struggle. In Exodus 18, Moses is seen sitting from dawn until dusk, judging the exhaustingly wide range of grievances of his people. His father-in-law, Jethro, told him to stop doing it the way he was doing it and instead start multiplying leaders. Read the account in Exodus 18:13-27.

But how do we do this?

Visualize the Bigger Picture

Moses could only see all the problems of the people he was leading. But Jethro told him to take another look—a 30,000-foot view. Take some time to take a step back and see the bigger picture in your life and community. God may be calling you to a greater purpose and He wants you to listen to Him. Dare to wait on Him expectantly and ask Him to make you the leader He intends for you to be. Then allow him to transform your leadership of others.

Prioritize Leadership Development

Jethro told Moses, “The work is too heavy for you alone.” When I was in my first youth pastorate, my senior pastor gave me a helpful word picture when he shared with me the gardener’s dilemma: “Do I water all these plants, or do I build a sprinkler system?” Doing construction on a system ignores the urgent, but builds long-term capacity and fruitfulness. Prioritize by taking time to build the leadership of your staff, your students and yourself.

My friend Travis Sybert just celebrated 20 years as the junior high pastor at North Coast Church in Vista, California. He chose to develop leadership in junior highers and now he has one of the biggest volunteer staffs in the nation. Students from his ministry are now youth pastors at other churches across the country. He has a weekly program called “Salt and Light” where more than 80 middle school students grow in their character and develop leadership skills.

Individualize care for your flock.

The solution for Moses’ workload was to select capable leaders, who then could care for the needs of the people. It is the same advice that the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, “Entrust the ministry to reliable people…”

Each of us has the capacity for going deep with only a few people. Even Jesus selected just 12 disciples.

Here’s a suggestion: Make a list of those in whom God is calling you to invest. Then determine what needs they have in order to thrive as leaders.

Getting Started

When you make leaders it will be like the words of Jethro in Exodus 18:23: “If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” Notice that the end game for Moses wasn’t feeling needed by or vital to the people, but meeting their needs. Spreading himself too thin was not meeting the most important need.

You may need help in getting this process going. When I need help in leadership development, I go to Randy Davis, the national leadership director/chief ministries officer for National Network of Youth Ministries. Randy recommends Leaders Made Here by Mark Miller. Check out this quote from the book, “A leadership culture exists when leaders are routinely and systematically developed and you have a surplus of leaders.”

May God give you the same surplus in your ministry as you follow His principles!

This article originally appeared here.

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Kevin Boer is the Network Coach Trainer for NNYM. He equips network leaders who mobilize their communities to disciple teenagers. He trains coaches nationally and mentors San Diego network leaders.