Are You Superman or the Joker?

You are more powerful than you think.

I know, you say you work with youth.  There are far more powerful people in your church.  In fact if you were the senior pastor then you would have real power.  Maybe some days you fantasize about being a senior pastor and giving the youth the focus that they deserve.

But then you wake up from your day dream and are reminded that you work with students. You are not the senior pastor.

 Power Climbing OR Power Lifting

You have power!

I know we just established you are not the senior pastor but hear me out.  You are leading students.  Whether you are a volunteer small group leader or the youth pastor of a large ministry you have amazing power over those students lives.

Some call that power influence.

Whatever you call it, you have it.  So here is my question, how are you using that power?  Are you climbing up the mountain or are you lifting up the students.

My fear is that this concept of climbing or lifting is lost on most people that work with students.

Let me explain with a story.

 A Humiliating Story Of Power Climbing

In the first church that I worked at there was a regional youth conference that our youth ministry went to.  It was your typical conference with great bands and speakers.  The conference was large enough that they could put on a great event but small enough that you knew most of the other youth ministries there.

At the end of the weekend the speaker asked for all of the youth ministries to gather together.  It was a chance for the youth pastors to speak in the students lives and to pray for the students.

A great way to end a great weekend.

In that moment I was not focused on praying for my students or speaking life into their lives.  I was looking around the conference room to make sure that I had the largest youth ministry in the room.

In essence I was using my students to make me look important.  I was using the power I had to help me climb the mountain of importance.

I feel shame every time I think of that story.

 The Ultimate Power Lifter

So is the answer to abandon any power that you have.  NO!

The answer is to use your power to lift up students.  This is what Philippians 2 is all about.  Go ahead and read the passage again.  It will take you only a few minutes.

“Look out for the interests of others”.  Jesus gives all of Himself so that we can be lifted to right relationship with God.

You are not the Saviour (so please don’t act like one), but you can use your power to lift up students.

 Superman or The Joker

So are you going to use your power to help lift students up (like Superman)?

Or are you going to use your power to use students to benefit you (like The Joker)?

These are probably not the questions to discuss in the comments section, but I do have one that I could use your help with.

What are practical ways we can use our power to lift up students?  Let me know in the comments section.

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.