4 Steps to Being a Better Leader

What is leadership? Am I a leader? Who am I leading? These are just a few of the many questions I often ask myself. Ten years in full-time ministry, I still don’t know everything. However, there are a few things I have learned over the years that are helping me “grow up” in the leadership areas of my life.

1. Read a Book

If you’re like me, you hate to read! I find that, if I am not reading, I'm not growing. Basically, my leadership hits the pause button. That’s not good for anyone! I read one book a month. How do I do this if I hate to read? I schedule a time to read one chapter a day or 20 pages. Whichever comes first. 

I usually choose to read when I am going to bed. It makes me tired! When I read, I am growing, I am more creative, and I am leading better! Figure out what will work best for you. Electronic books or physical books. If you’re a phone addict like me, you might find an electronic book to be your best bet.

2. Lead Face to Face

“If I can preach to people, then I’ll be an amazing leader!” I remember seeing profound preachers when I was younger and wanting to be them. Hundreds answered their altar calls, they were dynamic in their approach, and then they failed morally, financially, or in some other aspect. 

Let's be honest, anyone can lie behind a pulpit. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it does happen. In my opinion real ministry happens on the other side of the platform One on one, face to face leadership is where it is at! It allows people to see who you really are. AKA: Not perfect. Do life with a few people, and teach them how to do life with a few others. Last time I checked, people weren't quoting my sermons, they thanked me for taking the time to sit and listen to them.

3. Apologize

You probably do not make mistakes. But I do… A LOT! When you mess up, apologize. Be sincere about it. It is okay to not be right all the time! You do not have to have it all figured out. I find that people are more open to following my leadership when they recognize that I am a real person with real problems who make real mistakes.

4. Don’t Measure Your Success on Instagram.

I have heard it called the youth ministry highlight real or the Sports Center TOP 10 of youth ministry. I know I have done it. I check Instagram at the end of a Wednesday night that I put so much prayer, time, and energy into; only to feel like I failed when I see what other youth ministries are doing. As hard as it is, do not compare yourself with other youth ministries. You never know what is really taking place. People find the coolest video or picture and add the greatest filter they can find and post it for the world to see.

I know the youth group down the street had flying monkeys, confetti cannons, and gave everyone a brand new car. But you had a few that showed up and presented them, Jesus. One kid gave their life to the Lord… And we all know that there is nothing better than that! Heaven is throwing a party for that kid and casting out the demons that are in the flying monkeys.

A few final thoughts youth pastor, leader, minister or whatever people called you today. Don’t quit! Keep growing! Keep leading! As cliché as it sounds and often feels, you have been called for such a time as this. Fight the good fight and finish the race! We are better together!


Clint Nelson