Archives For Raising Up Better Leaders than Came Before

Part 4 in the We Need Better Leaders than Came Before series. Here are parts 1, 2, & 3.

If we’re going to have a movement that Raises up Better Leaders than Came Before, here are two things we need to figure out:

  1. Raising up Leaders who can also administrate
  2. Creating systems that make it easier for students to be leaders of leaders

I’ve figure out enough to know that we need to work on these 2, but I don’t know what the solution looks like. That’s where you come in.

Raising up Leaders who can also administrate

  • Often students are either great people gatherers OR logistical/organizational leaders.
  • As Andrew commented on the original post: “As for the complexity created by a larger group, it seems like the additional need would be mostly managerial.” They not only have to be good leaders “but now they have to be better managers too.”
  • An example from our ministry: A student leading an area of campus now has 6 Bible studies and 12 leaders to lead instead of just (in the past) leading his/her own study.
  • They have to be good administrators.
  • But that’s not enough. Because they’re not just organizing. They have to be leaders of leaders. They have to be able to mobilize students leaders who are very high caliber leaders (and maybe won’t respond to students they don’t respect as leaders).

Creating systems that make it easier for students to be leaders of leaders

  • We want our students to lead like staff (to be leaders who produce more leaders)
  • And we want our staff to lead like Campus Directors (to think of the movement as a whole- not just their piece, to lead autonomously, to be problem solvers, etc)
  • To quote Andy Stanley: “Systems create behaviors”
  • So, for students, how do we create systems where it is natural (through the course of time involved) and normal (it’s not the exception but the rule) for our students to become leaders of leaders?
  • Practical steps toward that: cast vision for it and spotlight leaders are who are doing it. But that’s not a system.
  • I guess for us, our system would be challenging students to join our weekly Leadership Hour where they often hear the aforementioned steps.

  • Your turn – How do we create systems where it is natural and normal for our students to become leaders of leaders?
    Also – any ideas on growing students’ ability to both lead and administrate?

photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks

In addition to some of the positive ideas stated yesterday in How to Raise Up Better Leaders than Came Before (mostly: raise up passionate followers of Christ who really get the gospel!), here are some problems we need to Fight Against and Figure Out.

Fight Against (more on these below)

  • Drift Toward Ease
  • Practical Atheism

Figure out (we’ll tackle this one tomorrow)

  • Raising up Leaders who can also administrate
  • Systems that make it easier for students to “lead up”

Drift toward ease

I’ve noticed that unless vision for Focusing on the Right People is constantly preached, many of our staff and students tend to disciple students who are much less gifted leaders than themselves.

Here’s a few theories on why:

It’s safe and easy

  • They’re super-available and we have no doubt that they will eat up everything we say

Fear that we don’t have what it takes/Fear of rejection

  • It’s intimidating (even for staff!) to approach that really sharp freshman leader who just oozes confidence
  • I can vividly recall my second year as a director – I discipled a guy who was the president of his fraternity and I ended up not meeting with him much because I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer him.

We like to be needed

  • “The fact is that many people in leadership roles gravitate toward hurting, draining, time-consuming people because they have a need to be needed.” – Dave Kraft (this entire post from What’s Best Next will be the best Leadership thing you read all week)

One resource to fight this drift is Tim Henderson’s article The Right People for Discipleship that is written to students and is phenomenal on communicating the why’s and how’s of pursuing Better Leaders.

Practical Atheism

  • Craig Groeschel describes this as someone who believes in God but lives as if He doesn’t exist
  • In this case it would be: really strategizing and thinking through how to raise up better leaders, and forgetting that God has to show up for his kingdom to grow on our campus
  • Ps 20:7 – “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
  • We have to fight against putting our trust in better leaders
  • It seems that the “easy” solution to this one is prayer and expressing utter dependence on God to move and raise up incredible leaders who will spread His fame
  • We still plan and strategize like crazy
  • All the time remembering- We’re like the guys setting up the Inauguration Parade route– setting up bleachers, preparing the route – so the path is clear for the Reigning King to pass through and receive adoration

What are some ways you’ve found to fight against the Drift Toward Ease and Practical Atheism?

photo courtesy of Peer.Gynt

A while back I wrote a post We need better Leaders than came before that raised a lot of questions but didn’t resolve anything.

It’s something we’ve been wrestling with as a team and, I think, an important issue to think through as your movement grows.

So let’s jump back into it over the next couple of days.

Here’s the (abbreviated) problem stated in 2 contradicting statements:

  1. “In building a movement, the students currently involved have to be better leaders than the previous generation because the movement is larger and more complex”
  2. John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid says good leaders (10’s) won’t follow lesser leaders (5’s)

If these two statements are true (and in my experience they almost always are) how is it possible for students to raise up better leaders than themselves?

On the original post Andrew had some great comments (his full comments are worth the read). Springboarding off of his comments (noted in quotations below),

Here are some thoughts on how students can raise up better leaders than themselves:

Cast vision

“When students are talking to better leaders, focus on vision casting. If you are able to paint a compelling picture of the cause, then you may be able to attract higher leadership levels because they are compelled by the cause. In other words, make it about more than just following you.

To quote Russ Martin: “leaders are big picture people, use big pictures!”

Focus on student ownership

“When students are given opportunities to lead/manage, they are able to use those opportunities for leadership growth.”

Students can grow rapidly in leadership when given lots of leadership experience right from the beginning of their involvement with us. I think we ask too little from freshmen.

Age Disparity

For the most part, students enter college as kids and graduate as adults. What does that have to do with raising up better leaders than came before? Age disparity enables a Senior who is a 5 to raise up freshman (who looks up to him as a wise sage) who will be a 10.

Godly Passion Trumps Everything

A few years ago we had a student (John) involved in our ministry who’s was a 5 at most (to put it in cold, John Maxwell terms). He wouldn’t look you in the eye when you talked to him. He was difficult to have a conversation with. But John led a Bible study full of phenomenal leaders- a couple guys in his study were Fraternity pledge class presidents and every single one was a better leader than John.

What drew them to John?

John came to Christ in college and never got over the gospel. It gripped him and he couldn’t help but passionately pursue everyone around him and invite them to experience Jesus.

As Andrew commented, “Give me a 5 who prays and lives out what he preaches over a 10 who can get the most people to the Cru meeting any day.”

Tomorrow – we’ll look at barriers to raising up better leaders than came before (besides the Law of the Lid).

What else would you add? How can we better foster a movement where students are raising up better leaders than came before?

photo courtesy of wildphotons

“In building a movement, the students currently involved have to be better leaders than the previous generation because the movement is larger and more complex”

Brian McCollister (Campus Crusade director at Ohio)

I had never thought about it in these terms but it makes sense- If your movement of college students is growing in size and scope year after year, your students need to be raising up better leaders than they are.

But you’re probably familiar with John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid that essentially says this:

“If on a scale of 1 to 10 your leadership ability is a 4, the best you will attract is 1, 2, and 3 leaders. You will never attract 7 and 8’s.

7’s and 8’s will only follow 9’s or 10’s.”

In general I agree with this Leadership Principle and it relates to my earlier post on “Followability“.  I’ve found this to especially be true for men’s ministry: guys tend to only follow other guys they look up to and respect. They will not follow lesser men.

So here’s the question I’ve been wrestling with:

  • Taking into account the Law of the Lid, how is it possible for students to raise up better leaders than themselves?

What has been your experience with this?  What are the necessary conditions for students to be able to raise up better leaders than themselves? How can staff help them do that?

photo courtesy of bingisser