Earlier this year I had an article published in the Journal of Student Ministries. The premise of "Leading through Listening" is that many of us in leadership work so hard at making decisions we forget to listen to those whom the decisions affect. In the article I suggest three good questions that should be asked of the groups we lead when visioning for the future. This piece is written with youth pastors in mind, but the three questions can apply to any church group. Here's a teaser:
As a youth ministry professional I have struggled most of my career with understanding the role of the Holy Spirit in church leadership.
On one hand, I believe that I should be the voice of God and speak to people on behalf of the Spirit. On the other hand, I believe that God’s Spirit is already present among people and that I should listen to them when I am leading.
Some youth leaders approach ministry as if God’s Spirit is already among God’s people; others approach it as if it is the youth minister who brings God’s Spirit to kids.
If we believe that we bring the Spirit to a youth group, then we’ll likely lead that group like a CEO—e.g., making all of the key decisions regarding activities, curriculum, programming, etc. But if we believe that God’s Spirit is already present and active in a youth group, we’ll learn to discern a vision for the ministry with teens, not for teens, by asking appropriate questions.
If you want to know what the three questions are, you can find the full article here.