Thursday, September 29, 2005

Missional Leadership Lessons #2

Missional leaders walk the fine line between keeping their charges safe and propelling them into situations that make them grow. There are some circumstances where these two principles are in conflict. For instance, challenging your team to have lunch with a homeless person can put these two ideas in opposition. On one hand, your responsibility is the students' safety. On the other hand, you are excited about the possibility and opportunity they have - in this very moment - for the growth of their character, integrity and world view. The unknowns are great - what if something bad happens in the environment, what if the homeless person is dangerous, what if the conversation runs into a controversial discourse.

On our very first SPACE Launch, the very first experience we ever tried like this within our youth ministry, things were going great. Students were out in this park having lunch with homeless people, getting into great dialogues, starting to understand the personal aspect behind homelessness. There from the corner of the park comes a homeless man, quite a large man, wearing a T shirt and no pants. On one of our more recent launches, a student said that she felt like her view of God just expanded exponentially. The fine line - keeping them safe AND propelling them into growth.

The compelling reason behind the balance is the overwhelming desire to go and make disciples. In order for people to grow, sometimes they need to be stretched. Our desire as leaders is that we take them to places [both physically and spiritually] where their view of the world and God changes, where they experience serving out of themselves, where they see what it means to bless someone intentionally.

However, the leader must be able to assess the risk accurately and must be comfortable with the amount of risk. What are the unknowns about the locality? How about travel methods to there? What kinds of tasks will we be undertaking? What are some of the unknowns about the team?

The leader must also be able to architect the environment for growth. What are the elements of the experience that may catalyze the student to grow? What are the major principles at play with the community, the team, others they may work with, realities of life that the team may bump into? What are some dominant Biblical principles that are resonate with this experience?

Some items for followup:
- How do you teach a leader to walk this fine balance?
- What are some key experiences you have had that are similar to this? What kind of effect did it have on your own growth?
- Can we teach leaders to assess risk properly?

Photo: Some students getting ready for the ropes course at Rockbridge Young Life Camp, Spring 2005

For the first post in this series, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment