“Leadership matters.  Your leadership matters.  A good leader changes the course of organizations, entire industries, states, countries, and even the global landscape.” – Mark Burnett

How do you value your development?

You can always  tell what someone values by what they prioritize.  If I want to get in shape, I buy a gym membership, eat healthier, and try to stay active.  If I want to have an better marriage in 2016, I plan more dates and weekends away with my wife.  All these things that I value, require time and prioritizing that time.  Developing a great marriage, or becoming a great leader doesn’t just happen.  That is the myth out there that you are just born a great leader.  You might naturally be a better leader, but the best leaders learn.  They learn a lot, and they are constantly adapting.

Here are 4 ways to develop as a leader in 2016.  I hope that your 2016 is the best year yet.

  1. Read the whole Bible.  I started this a few years ago (here is the Bible plan), and I am constantly amazed at how God has worked when I have been faithful to reading his word daily.  I am constantly amazed at how I need those 10 minutes in the word each day as a starting point.

One of the ways I have made reading the Bible in a year different is by getting a journalling Bible and marking it up.  I also try to write out a Psalm each day in my own words.  At the end of the year it is encouraging to go back and see all the different ways that I have interacted with God in his word.

2. Attend 2 conferences.  You might not have the budget to do two huge conferences each year, but you could do one big one and one local one.  This past year I attended catalyst west and I was amazed at the experience.  It was a starting point for my team and I to develop as leaders.  It was worth every cent.

Because of going to catalyst west, I totally missed out on youth specalities NYWC.  I wish last year that I planned on going to both Catalyst and NYWC.  There is something about going to a youth ministry conference and a non-youth ministry conference.  I think there is room for both conference as a way to develop as a next generation leader.

When looking for a conference for yourself you need to ask: What do you want out of it? Who should come with me?  I love going to conferences with my good friends.  Nothing is better than hanging out with awesome friends for a few days.

3. Ready a book every 2 weeks. For youth workers who don’t love reading, you are going to look at that and say, “I have to ready 26 books this year.”  Yes, if you want to stay relevant, you need to read.  If you want to become a great leader, you need to be a reader.  I would say that 26 is the bare minimum.  Now, you don’t have to read every book, you can listen to it.

There are so many different books out there right now, its hard to find awesome books.  Why not ask your friends about the best book they read last year.  If you really need suggestions, you can find them here.  I will try to post two books each month that we are reading and give you an opportunity to buy them or listen to them.

Leaders are readers.  This is one critical habit to develop this year.  I talk to a ton of leaders who don’t read.  What separates leaders is their habits and one of those is reading.

4. Finding a mentor.  I was talking to a friend of mine a few days ago.  He is a master of doing weddings.  He does them all the time, and I asked him for his notes.  But, I wanted to know how he became so great at officiating weddings and funerals.  His response was surprising.  My friend said that he looked back on all the weddings and funerals he has been to and remembered the best one.  Then that day he asked the guy who was the best out for dinner.  My friend actually said, “Can I buy you dinner, but you have to tell me all you know about weddings and funerals.”  This guy took him up on the offer and they eventually entered into a mentoring relationship.

Thats how you find a mentor.  Who do you really respect?  Who do you wish you could be like?  Whose ministry would you like yours to look like?  That is the person you ask to mentor you.  Don’t ask them outright.  Just ask them if you could by them dinner.

Finding a mentor is something that has helped me stay in the ministry game for so long.  Ministry can be so difficult, but it’s worth having people by your side praying, and encouraging all the way.  That might be the difference you need this year.

What are you waiting for?  Those are 4 ways that you could have the best year yet.



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