How to give leaders their best – Shean Phillips

Lee Lethers Podcast

As a youth pastor or key leader, the ministry you have to your leadership team is crucial. When you are at your best, they will be at their best. On this episode Brian talks with Dr. Shean Phillips from Piedmont International University about some practical steps to live this out in your ministry.

Show Notes:

(Throughout this discussion Shean Phillips will be building on information from Doug Fields’ teaching during the National Youth Workers’ Convention in St. Louis.)

As a shepherd, your responsibility is to help people find God’s best in their lives. You should lead youth leaders to the place where they can be the best leaders they were created to be.

Give up your pride: If you want to bring out the best in people, your pride needs to be in the backseat.  Are you on center stage or are you putting others on the stage? Are you the leader in the spotlight, or the leader behind the spotlight, pointing it on other leaders? A huge part of Jesus’ ministry was delegating, passing responsibility onto others.

Give up your perfectionism: The person you are leading is not going to do the project as well as you do, especially not at first, because they are learning. However, by delegating, eventually things will be done better than you did before, because you will have more help and better help. Be comfortable knowing your weaknesses and build others up. The idea that someone might out-perform you should be a good thing. Insecure leaders never bring out the best in others.

Give your genuine belief: Trust your leaders and really give them all the authority required to fulfill the position you delegate to them. Give them the chance to show you that they can do it.

Give your leaders real responsibility: Delegation is an invitation to the blessing of ministry. Delegation is not giving away the tasks you do not want to do but giving responsibility in ways that show each leader is at the table for a reason.

Give them meaningful relationships: You want relational-driven youth leaders, not task-driven. Not all leaders need to be small group leaders. Some could work with the parents or run games. We are called to love people, not just like them, and you cannot love someone quickly. Take extra time to develop relationships with your youth leaders outside the youth group nights. These meaningful relationships yield loyalty, ownership, and creativity to the ministry. The best teams are the ones that genuinely love being together. Acts 2

Give practical help for becoming a better leader: Nothing becomes dynamic for a leader until it becomes specific for them. Ask for specific tasks and requirements from them.

You cannot assume your ministry knowledge on a rookie.

Trian in bite-sized elements. People may love teenagers, but they may not love ministry. Do a single topic with a small amount of material at a time. Do not overwhelm your leaders, but keep them trained and informed.

Give Accountability: This is not just checking in for emergencies. Give those you lead a grade to identify where they are at: A – just needs encouragement. B – needs encouragement and some coaching. C – needs major correction and possibly should be moved into another ministry. No D’s or F’s – high standards are required in ministry. Shepherding is knowing your people, what they need and providing for those needs. Talk about both areas of success and growth, starting with success.

Give some freedom: Do not correct every little thing. You never know how a person may perceive you, and thus how they might receive your correction. Be delicate and mindful of the weight of leadership. The best idea should win, not just your idea. Ideas often turn out better than you would ever believe.

Give specific growth challenges: What is the next step for each of your leaders? Their next step may not necessarily be below you. Do not hold your leaders back from moving up and on. Good leaders enable and encourage other leaders to grow beyond themselves.

List 5 of your leaders and the specific things they need to grow in. If you cannot do that, go get to know your leaders better until you can. Then come up with a plan to encourage them to grow.

Closing thoughts:

Think on the difference between working yourself out of a job because you have equipped leaders well, and just continuing to do what you do best in ministry. It is ok if you raise up the next youth pastor of your church, you can go raise up a new youth pastor in a new church.

If people start to doubt your leadership because you delegate, take it as an opportunity to have a great discipleship conversation with them.

Do not be afraid to help leaders grow beyond you. It is a privilege to watch someone under your leadership become better at something than you.



Shean Phillips has previously been a guest on our earliest podcasts and has discussed ways of ministering to parents.