Time Out: Is the gift of leadership necessary for working with youth?

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

Like many pastors, I first cut my teeth in ministry by being a youth pastor. While God has graciously gifted me in several ways, leadership and people skills were not among them. I was not a good motivator, nor did I easily draw people to me and my cause. That made it quite hard to lead the youth in the church where I worked. I attracted the serious youth and could disciple them, but I envied those who could be cool with all the kids and attract their admiration and loyalty. Maybe you understand how I felt.

Is leadership part of your spiritual gift mix? Do you enjoy inspiring and leading others for the sake of Christ’s work? Are you quick to sense when a group needs direction and then able to step up and do something about it? Do others look to you for leadership and guidance? Are you able to motivate others to strive for goals you feel are important? Do you think of future accomplishments and how to bring them about? If so, you have leadership gifts.

The gift of leadership is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to set goals in accordance with God’s purpose and to communicate those goals to others so that they harmoniously work together to accomplish them for the glory of God. Often administration/organization accompanies this gift so the leader is better able to move forward in his plans. As with any privilege God gives, however, there is a responsibility to use it for Him and an accountability factor as well. 1 Timothy 3 lists characteristics a leader must have: without fault, sober, self-controlled, orderly, welcoming of strangers, gentle and peaceful, not greedy, able to manage his family and children, mature in the faith and respected by others. This gift must always be exercised under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must at all times remember they are HIS sheep, not ours. We are just the under shepherd. But isn’t it a great privilege to be on God’s leadership team?

Romans 12:8, “…if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

1 Thessalonians 5:12, “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.”

John 21:16, “Jesus said to Peter, ‘”Take care of my sheep.'”


  • What is your plan to keep your focus on Jesus and not let your ego needs rise to the surface? How do you keep from using your leadership ability feed your own pride?
  • Who is your example as a leader? Find someone in life, in the Bible, or in history whom you admire as a leader and study their life.
  • What are you doing to further develop your leadership abilities? There are many fine books, web sites and workshops available. We are responsible to develop our abilities, not coast on them.
  • Ask God to show you how you an be a better leader to those who follow you. Sit quietly for a few moments and listen to what He would say to you.


Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!

Posted on July 21, 2008

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