What Some Dead Presidents Taught Me About Youth Ministry

One of our student leaders didn’t come in yesterday to lead her 6th grade girls small group.  This happens from time to time but her reason was priceless.  She thought that because it was President’s Day weekend that we didn’t have church.
But in all reality these President’s they’re pretty special considering they’re on dollar bills.  With that said I figured there could be a few things we could learn from our Founding Fathers that might help us  in student ministry, this is what I got:
John F. Kennedy
Big vision means big results.  Kennedy announced to the country in 1961 that we were going to send a man to the moon and back successfully, which we did.  Kennedy didn’t know how it was going to work or what the initial outcomes would be, he simply trusted the team at NASA and never stopped dreaming small.  Too many times we keep our dreams to ourselves.  Yeah, they may seem outlandish at times, but how do we know whether or not they’ll come true if we don’t throw them out there.

William Henry Harrison
Legend has it that poor ole’ William Henry Harrison developed pneumonia from not wearing the proper attire while giving the longest inaugural speech and then walking to the White House.  Dude wanted to show that he was still the tough guy from Tippecanoe…dude died 30 days later.  I think we have a tendency as youth workers to prove something, but really the only person we are working for is God.  We don’t need long messages, we don’t need to dress the trends or compete with the teens in a game of Fuzzy Bunny to show them how awesome we can be.  It’s not about us it’s about knowing your audience and knowing it’s about Him.

Abraham Lincoln
Kept the Union together even though he couldn’t please everyone.  Tension can form in many different ways in your ministry.  But the way to get through it is by embracing and leaning in.  It’s about creating a vision and casting it to those around you.  It’s about being knowing your strengths, your weaknesses, where to compromise and lastly how to stand firm.  With a vision and a hard set of values you overtake any chaos.

Grover Cleveland 
Not many of us know this two term President.  After serving one term as President he lost in the reelection to Benjamin Harrison.  Next go around, came back and won it back.  That’s persistence and  a great example of rebounding from failure.  As youth ministers we need to not only learn from our mistakes, but know how to be persistent and determined to in order to bounce back.  After a rough night of ministry it’s easy to hit a slump.  After a parent tears us a part it’s easy to get jaded.  We just need to remember that God is there to pick us up and His grace gives us another go.

You’ll find some amazing stories when you read about the Presidents.  And while there are times we immortalize them as perfect leaders, we need to remember that they are/were human just like us.  And while it’s great to learn from the leaders of our country, we need to focus on leading like Christ.

Who are some of the leaders you follow?  And what lessons have you learned from them?