This week we’re focusing on leadership—specifically, the upside-down concept that to be a great leader you have to be a great follower. Yesterday we looked at Follow-Up and Following the Leader—here are two more.

Follow Jesus
We didn’t start with this one yesterday because it may have felt cliché to lead with this one—but it is the most important “following” out of all of them…hands down. Following Jesus can be easily faked, but the person who genuinely follows Jesus shines with an authenticity that is easily recognized. Be that person! If you want to be a truly great leader, make sure you follow the Leader.

Practical ways to get better at following Jesus: Find a resource that will help you spend time with Jesus every day. Download the YouVersion Bible app and pick a reading plan—be sure to set a reminder each day to give you a nudge in you haven’t marked it completed by noon.

Block out a little time for prayer before your lunch hour each day. Spend a month and only read the red letters in the gospels. Being more familiar with the ways of Jesus might actually help you follow him more closely!

Follow a mentor
Don’t risk doing youth ministry alone. You need a person who has been there before who can share wisdom with you from the journey. It doesn’t need to be someone in the exact same profession, but someone who can relate to your calling and shares some of the same passions. All great leaders have great mentors, if you want to be great be humble enough to learn from someone else today.

Practical ways to get better at following a mentor: Find a network in your area where you can gather and talk shop. Search online for a veteran youth minister in your area to help coach you. Find blogs, books, and resources that will help mentor you and push your development. Identify somebody in your congregation, from any profession, that you respect and ask them if they’d join you for coffee once in a while.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

It’s no secret that many young people leave the church and their faith. The lesser-known fact is that many keep their faith but leave because they don’t see the Body of Christ as essential to their walk with Jesus.

That’s an untruth we must attack if we are to train young people up in the way of God. But how? That’s what this book is all about.

Yes, we are lights to the lost. But we must never lose sight of the fact that we are lights to one another as well, including those living lukewarm lifestyles. Believers stuck in mediocrity need to see passionate followers of Jesus in action—both in word and deed. And passionate followers of Jesus must practice unconditional love to their unlovely brothers and sisters.

We have a stake in each others walk with Jesus. We either grow together, or cut down each other. Going it alone spiritually isn’t right unless specifically called by God.

Question For You: What does this mean for you and your ministry?

Music sets a tone. The weather sets a tone. Sentence structure sets a tone. And people? People really set a tone. The problem is that many young people don’t see the power in Christ they have as tone-setters. Instead, they

  • Tell others that they want to make a difference in the world, but ignore the little differences they could make along the way.
  • Grumble at the headiness of their congregation, but refuse to speak up about head-knowledge Christianity.
  • Wonder why the church doesn’t provide ministries, but never think of starting one.

Imagine the impact we’d have if we all lived as tone-setters for Jesus—not only outside but also inside the church. Imagine throwing off fear. Choosing to love. And encouraging others in the ways of the King.

Question For You: What would it mean for you and your ministry to tone-set for Jesus inside the church?

Caleb Breakey is the author of two forthcoming books with Harvest House Publishers, and is currently raising pledges to create a DVD Series about “Following Jesus Without Leaving the Church.” If you are interested in his project, please check out his page RIGHT HERE. As of this posting, he’s raised $6,271 of the needed $9,000 to create the DVD Series. Leave a comment and you will be entered into a drawing of Logos Bible Software: Leaders Library ($325 value). Winner will be chosen at random next week!