A Youth Pastor needs to be a Spotlight Leader

In honor of Orange Week this week, I wanted to repost this recap of one of my favorite messages from the Orange Conference last year.

This morning , Doug Fields talked about the importance of being a spotlight leader in our ministries. I loved his message that really, there are all kinds of leaders out there – you can be an Orange Leader, a Transformative leader, a Simple Leader, whatever. But however you choose to classify yourself, we all need to make the distinction of being a spotlight leader.

A spotlight leader, as Doug put it, is someone who is pushing others into the spotlight of attention. No matter our views, as leaders , we all will deal with the spotlight, but some of us are pushing others into it while more push others out. Doug broke it down that a spotlight leader is 3 things :

1 | A spotlight Leader is Secure … Doug told of when he was first writing Purpose Driven Youth Ministry and gave a copy to Jim Burns to review , and he was really hoping Jim would just tell him he was done so he could stop with the inner turmoil of trying to write the book. But Jim told him he wasn’t done, and that if he stopped writing now without improving, Doug would be letting Jim down. In essence, Doug told us, Purpose Driven Youth Ministry is the success of a book that it is today because there was a leader behind it who didn’t worry about protecting his own kingdom, but made the conscious decision to put others in the spotlight, even at their own expense, for the greater good of Christ’s kingdom. A major problem today is in this crazy subculture of Church Leadership, we have bought into the myth that bigger is better, and as insecure people we want to be better, so we strive to be bigger, far too often at the expense of others.

2 | A spotlight Leader Searches… Doug told another story about his skin cancer, and how often he has to go to the dermatologist to have every square inch of his skin examined by this man , while close by a lady sits drawing every flaw the doctor finds on a rendering of Doug’s body, and really just how crazy awkward it is, but by doing that the dermatologist is saving Doug’s life. Similarly, a spotlight leader scopes out his sphere of interest looking for whats good, and then looks for how it can become better. The next little part of what he said is SO HUGE for all leaders, and for me, it totally resonated, and if you’re in ministry, you more than likely will find truth in this as well. But he talked about how a detailed scope by a spotlight leader may not Save lives like the dermatologist, but it will Make people come alive.

A spotlight leader recognizes that people are around you waiting to be discovered, and that everyone is craving recognition. No one wants to be on the sidelines, they want to be in the game. This isn’t a bad thing in itself, its in our human nature. But what happens to people when they hang around self-preservation leaders? They deteriorate, they self destruct. Their skills, passions, and their gifting lie dying, slowly bleeding out to death. Because self-preservation leaders paint a target on others around them as competition, to the detriment of those they should be serving.
3 | A spotlight Leader is a servant… It’s tough to be a servant, because servants are rarely ever recognized on this side of eternity. Servant leadership is not a new leadership principle, it’s just rare, its extremely rare unfortunately. And whats common is for serving to turn into self-serving.
But what was key in this section is when he got to an impact of leadership that doesn’t get much attention; the family. Doug said something that is SO TRUE yet so often unsaid,
when you’re a spotlight leader, you not only change that person’s life, you change their family.
Doug said a quote that really resonated with me and my situation and some of the things I have been thinking about lately. But he talked about a friend he had who simply said “My Dad would have been a better Father if he had served under a better leader.” Self-Preservation leaders are not only destroying those they oversee, but their families as well.
If you are out there, and you are serving in a place that is just wrecking you, you know this to be true, because it is taking a toll on your family. Ultimately, our ministry to our families needs to come first. Really pray about if this is where God really wants you staying. God could be calling you to stay there, endure, and become a change agent. But he could also be using this time to transform you into the leader you will need to be 5 years down the road.
Get with someone and pray about it.
And start pushing those around you into the spotlight more often.

15 Comments

  1. Man, this is such solid stuff. And you're right: that quote about the dad and better leadership, man. That hits home. Thanks for posting it.
  2. Man, this is such solid stuff. And you're right: that quote about the dad and better leadership, man. That hits home. Thanks for posting it.

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