Mentoring: Shaping Princes and Princesses into Kings and Queens

We are in the middle of what I have been calling "The Teen Decade". It happens every century. And for only 7 years. My prayers and efforts in the past few years preparing for "the teen years" has been to shape Youth and Youth Leaders in this generation into culture makers. For that to happen, we must develop a mentor and protege relationship.
This picture tells it all as it relates to the mentor and the protege. What God has placed inside the young people in this nation can be drawn out by veteran Youth Leaders who are willing to be a model and influence. You see, I believe that teenagers are already princes and princesses because they are God's children by creation. But, it is our responsibility to turn them into Kings and Queens. Taking a pawn and creating Kingship and Queenship in each.

Here are 4 elementary leadership traits for Youth Leaders who want to shape teen culture in this coming decade. Let me give you value number three. Let's make this interactive and viral by taking the time to complete the blog with your thoughts. After reading, please start a thread so others can get into the conversation.

Great youth leaders find someone they are afraid of who will help keep them accountable in their life in 4 areas
Ask For A Mentor - If you have no fear of someone, you are your own King. And that is no place to be. You cannot lead well if you haven't been led. Managing your life and ministry is vital to youth ministry success. It is important that youth leaders enlist the kind of seasoned mentors who have walked in the places that young leaders find themselves in. Whether it is the personal life, the marriage and family life, or the ministry life of a young leader, there is so much to manage. A mentor in the life of a Youth Leader can oversee the development needed to be a great mentor to someone else.

The Personal Life - We need more than accountability. We need an editor. Someone whom we allow to make changes and cuts! This would include the psychology of daily life, commitment to spiritual growth and formation, dealing with finances and materialism, and having accountability measures in place for the areas of sexual temptations. If you want to go where you have never been, you must find someone who has been there and done it. Your ceiling is easily placed low in your life. Your fences can be drawn in by your own treatment of yourself. Without an editor in your personal life, you will ALLOW for things that an editor will not.

Marriage And Family - This may not apply completely to everyone, but, the family area does. If you are single, you must honor your parents and siblings. You still need to lead your heritage well before you can have a complete impact upon others. For those who are married, balancing a spouse and children in the ministry is the most important part of a young ministers life. How much to involve them, the use of the home, and limits of how much ministry discussion do we bring home are all areas that must be defined and practices that must be understood. Defining healthy roles within the marriage and family (spouse, parent-child, sibling relations) will compute into successful ministry. This begins with communication between the couple.

Ministry And Professional Development - One area I have seen young leaders fail often is staying current in competencies. Losing the passion to do things right or to improve your skill-set. You can use words like 'coasting' or 'retiring', but, those are excuses. One of my favorite coaches in college football is Jim Harbaugh at the University of Michigan. His personal life motto has become legendary: "Attacking each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind". Passion is vital to success. There are many areas of professional development that can increase the success of Youth Leaders. The philosophy of ministry a young leader develops will become the construct that defines your entire ministry program. It is true that ministry is about relationships, but, anyone who underestimates philosophy and structure will be working harder than the person with it.

So, how do I choose a mentor? Here are two things to look for in your mentor...

Find someone you are afraid of. They should have your respect and your awe. Someone who has displayed integrity for a season. Look at the fruit of their personal life, family, and ministry. How have they managed each? It is important that you give this person the right to speak into your life without defense. They can say anything at anytime and without a response from you. Do not choose someone you can control.

You will learn much more from a tour guide than you will a travel agent. What kind of person should you look for? It is best to find an elder who has been where you want to go. Simply put, a travel agent probably has a ton of information for you, but, they have been behind a desk. Your your tour guide has been to the places you want to go. 

There are options if you cannot find someone in your world who fits this description. Try getting in touch with a local Lead Pastor who has extensive youth ministry experience, the District Youth Director of your denomination, a local high school counselor or veteran teacher, a local university professor, or even an area para-church organizational leader. There can be qualified mentors in each of these settings. You may even have your eyes on a youth ministry veteran somewhere in the nation that would be willing to do an extension relationship with you through email, skype, or phone calls.

How seriously you seek a mentor in your life will determine how serious an impact player you are in shaping this generation. Be the King or Queen to a young prince or princess. And watch a pawn develop into the next great leader in America.