If you are concerned about why your students will not step up and lead, see if any of these may be true. I have been guilty of all of these, but no more. This generation is too important for us to ignore or waste the opportunities God gives us.

1. Johnny can’t lead because he is  burdened  and buried under a culture of average.

Even though numbers drive us, can we all work to get past this?  Can we get beyond numbers or competing with First Church down the street for the sake of finding out what God is doing  and do that. Average youth ministries won’t cut it for Johnny and he won’t be there.

2. Johnny can’t lead because he doesn’t understand the gospel.

The gospel says, lay down your life,  but Johnny’s culture says to save it, hold on to it, don’t sacrifice. Johnny can’t lead because he does not understand the gospel as Jesus taught it. Unfortunately we perpetuate that because we are afraid to challenge Johnny and fear losing him.

3. Johnny can’t lead because has had no one to model leadership for him.

Where have all the leaders gone? We have silo’d our ministry so much, our young men are never a part of men’s ministry. Our men need someone to mentor and out kids need mentoring. We should try to make this kind of connection a regular part of our ministries.

4. Johnny can’t lead because no one told Johnny he could.

We should be affirming our young men in their gifts and then invite them  to use and fine tune their gifts in the ministry as well as the chance to fail greatly.

5. Johnny can’t lead because Johnny doesn’t see the value in it.

Have we turned the Christian life, the great adventure into the great list of rules? Who wants to lead that?

6. Johnny can’t lead because his youth pastor can’t keep his or her hands off things.

Stop. Just stop. Quit trying to save your job and save your soul.

7. Johnny can’t lead because he is constantly being saved from failure.

Here is a quick primer for how failure should work

  • Give Johnny a task
  • Make him accountable
  • Equip him to succeed
  • Let him fail, but not to the point that it would crush him.  Protect but don’t save.
  • Thank him if it was his best effort and rebuke him if it was not.
  • Repeat

Why  should it be our goal to erase any excuses or blockades to the door that leads Johnny to taking his place? I believe, if Johnny steps through that door, it will be awfully hard for him to go back. Isn’t that what we want?

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