[This is an excerpt from my friend Tim Branch’s brand new eBook for Young Life leaders. You can download the book for free by clicking here.] – Drew Hill
We talk a lot in Young Life about “being yourself.” People say it like it’s easy. So then, why do many of us find it so hard
I compared myself a lot in my first years as a leader. Because of my introverted person- ality, I thought I was worse at Young Life than the other leaders on my team.
They’d be just killing it in the middle of a circle of laughing people, and I’d be talking to two guys in the corner. I tried the extrovert thing, but it never felt right. Can you relate?
If so, I have a message for you today. It’s a message I wish I had known when I first started leading.
Your differences are actually an advantage for your team—and for the Body of Christ.
Here’s why: Just like a football team needs different talents to function properly, a Young Life team needs all different types of people to truly thrive in a high school. It’s hard to make Young Life work. And good Young Life teams celebrate having leaders with different skill sets.
That’s why it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself directly with someone else. It keeps you from using your unique gifts to make your ministry team stronger, and in- stead makes you think you need to be a cheap knockoff of someone else.
Imagine if a 400-lb. lineman wished he could be a wide receiver, so he started spending his time learning how to catch a football instead of learning how to keep people away from his quarterback. What good is he doing for the team? Who needs a slow receiver? He’s good at protecting the quarterback…and his team NEEDS him to protect the quarterback…he should just protect the quarterback!
In the same way, you have to be willing to use YOUR gifts the way they were meant to be used, and stop trying to be like that one “prototype leader” you think you’re supposed to be like.
Paul says this exactly when he says:
“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:17-20)
While a lineman may feel like the receiver gets more glory because he catches all the touchdowns, he’s failing to see that without his job, the receiver wouldn’t have anything to catch. The receiver needs the lineman.
This is why it’s so sad when you feel like your gifts are worthless.
Because, while the impact of a body part is different, the value of that impact is the same.
The truth is, different types of leaders bring out the best in each other:
The deep, quiet leader can often offer much-needed support and spiritual guid- ance to the team.
The funny skit guy can open doors for soft-spoken leaders to connect with their high school friends through laughter.
The well-organized leader can take the worry out of club so everyone can stay focused on the important stuff.
Fill in the blank with your gift.
So what do you do with this information? Where’s your place on your Young Life team? Well, here are five questions that can help you figure that out:
What do I think my gifts are?
What do other people think my gifts are?
How can I grow into these gifts more?
What does my team need, and how can my gifts fill those needs?
What kids am I drawn to that my other teammates might not connect with?
Every gift has its place on the team. So embrace your unique strengths. Your team needs them.