by Andrew Stephens-Rennie
What’s your story? What story do you find yourself in? Are you the star of the story, or a member of the cast? How do you see yourself, and how do you relate to others in your life?
Our world is full of stories. It’s full of competing narratives calling for our attention. Stories are used to express our innermost desires, and to sell us stuff we don’t really need. Stories can call us to compassionate service and acts of justice, but they can similarly call us towards self-serving pride and greed. In the midst of this, what’s a youth worker to do?
We youth workers, like the young people amongst whom we serve have our own stories, our own strengths and our own achilles heel. And so how do we accompany young people as they explore their unfolding stories, even as (sometimes) we are uncomfortable in our own stories?
It can be a challenge to be honest with ourselves. The world tells us we need leaders full of strength and determination. Our online news feeds, magazines, and newspapers tell us what makes a good leader. And yet within the church, we are called to a different kind of leadership.
And it’s a nuanced, blemished, storied kind of leadership. Vancouver-based hiphop artist Shad puts it this way:
We need leaders
These elitists got nothing to teach us
By their strength, our children need to see Jesus in their weakness
And keep seekin’ where
Free speech is rare
And realness gets kept less frequent than these secrets
What does it mean to lead young people with a nuanced, blemished, storied kind of leadership? What does it mean for our young people to see Jesus in our leaders’ weakness?
How do you respond to such a challenge? What does your leadership style say about you, and what does it say about your faith?