Leadership is one of the most foundational skills your student can develop. The world needs good leaders. The church needs good leaders. Families need good leaders. And good leadership doesn’t happen by accident. It’s developed and cultivated through intentional work.
Dr. Jeff Myers, a leading expert on youth leadership development, simply defines leadership as “influencing others to create change”. When we define leadership as influence, we see that anyone has the opportunity to lead whether they are in traditional leadership roles or not.
Your student may not be the executive at a big company or the spiritual authority at a church. They may not even be the leader of a household yet. But no matter what, they have the opportunity to influence others to create change.
The Call to Lead
Not only does everyone have the opportunity to lead, we have all been tasked with leading responsibly, regardless of our official titles and roles in the world.
God gave the first people, Adam and Eve, the responsibility of taking dominion over the earth and being fruitful in it.
This cultivation requires change and influence. It was not simply management. God didn’t task them with tending something and keeping it the same. He tasked them with adding to it.
The future of education in your inbox.
Get productivity tips, commentary, and Unbound updates sent to you!
No matter what role we play in an office, a family, or a community, we have a responsibility to influence our world for good and create God-glorifying change.
Do you know an engineer who started building real bridges and cities at the age of two?
No? I didn’t think so. Two year old children build with legos and blocks. They build cities on the living room floor. Some of them grow up and build real cities and buildings. But they start with something small.
In the same way, as your student follows the call to lead, they should start small. They don’t need to change the world right away. Perhaps the first step is to change their own daily habits to be better equipped to love and serve others.
This is an important point: leadership, like all things, finds its true power and significance in the context of relationships. Leadership that only touches tasks and processes but never touches people is a waste of time. That’s not to say that working on tasks and processes is a waste of time. But when we work on those things we ought to work on them intentionally to serve the purpose of cultivating relationships.
Learning leadership is a slow and steady process. Leaders aren’t born, they’re made, the saying goes. And they’re not made overnight, they’re forged over time as they faithfully practice influencing others to create change.
Learning to Lead Starts Now
Don’t wait for your student to get a position and title before cultivating responsible leadership in them. Encourage them to lead their siblings and friends. Perhaps, leadership starts with themselves.
As they grow in their leadership abilities, they will see new opportunities to step up and influence others to create change. But it all starts with faithfulness in the small things.
Dr. Jeff Myers teaches Ascend students how to practice Christian leadership in the Signature Leadership Courses. These courses are available exclusively to Ascend students. Learn more about the courses and what else Ascend offers today.
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.