I will never forget the first time I allowed one of our student interns to speak in front of our middle school students. I was sitting in the back of the room, cringing the entire time! To this day, I am honestly not sure if our students were able to take anything away from his message. I took tons of notes, sat down with him the following week, and critiqued him in every way possible. I ended our time together by letting him know that he would be back on the speaking schedule the following week. Although I could tell he was extremely nervous, he was excited that I was giving him a second chance! About halfway through his second time speaking, he hit a wall and lost all track of his thoughts. I proceeded to step in and tag team the rest of the message. I again sat down with him, critiqued him, encouraged him, and once again told him that he would be back on the teaching schedule the following week! I think he was somewhat shocked and surprised that I would have him speak again. It was almost as if he was hoping I would tell him he couldn’t ever teach again.
Since then, his ability to communicate with our students has drastically improved and he has even impressed several of our leaders! Not only is he speaking, but also as a junior in high school, he is involved in several high levels of leadership within our middle school ministry! When many people would have given up on him, we saw a high school student with tons of potential that felt God was calling him into full-time youth ministry. We have given him the opportunities to use his abilities, while providing the resources and relationships he needs to grow his strengths.
I often see leaders fail to empower or enable others to lead because they are afraid of the failure that comes with that. I am not afraid of seeing my leaders fail, because I know that there will be times that I will fail as well. In moments of failure, we need people around us who will be there to critique and encourage us. We need to be held accountable to the calling God has placed on our lives – in moments of success and failure.
When it comes to the ministry God has placed around us, we cannot be afraid to challenge other people to step up, even if we don’t quite think they are ready. They will fail because they are people – just like you and me! But through God’s grace and strength we will continually see people rise above failure as we empower them to lead! We must lead with grace when it comes to the incredible team God has placed around us!
God is showing me everyday that this is a concept He has called us to apply within our own homes as well! I have come in contact with so many kids who forget their parents are human beings and parents who face major disappointment in their kids when they do not live up the standards of perfection. Tomorrow I will discuss through personal experience (writing more to myself than anybody else) what it looks like to live out grace in moments of failure within our own homes!