In this episode of Five-Minute Mentoring, we explore the concept of transparency in ministry, the danger of oversharing, and why these are important concepts to apply to your leadership and ministry.
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Youth Ministry Institute original podcast
Brian Lawson: 00:08
Welcome to the Making Sense Ministry Podcast. The podcast designed to help you lead well in your ministry transform lives and impact generations. I’m Brian Lawson here with a special episode.
You know, for nearly 20 years, we’ve been coaching and training individuals and youth and now children’s ministry. And so we’ve decided to share some of that knowledge with you, some of the knowledge that our coaches share with our clients. Between the releases of our regular episodes, we will be sharing what we are calling five minute mentoring episodes. And so today, I’m here with you for our very first five minute mentoring. So welcome, and I’m glad you’re here.
Brian Lawson: 00:46
In this episode, we’re going to talk about transparency in ministry. But not just transparency of the ministry, which is important, especially if you want parents and those in the community to believe in and trust you and your leaders. I’m talking about transparency as a leader. Yeah, you the leader, we’re putting you on the hot seat.
I wonder, do you find it difficult to be transparent with those in your ministry. For some of us, this comes easy, maybe even too easy. There are those of us who fall into the oversharing trap. We share anything with anyone, which in some ways is not bad. But in the wrong context, it can be detrimental to you as a leader, it can derail the ministry, and potentially cause damage to young people and their families.
Brian Lawson: 01:38
So let’s talk first about oversharing.
Oversharing can look like an attempt to gain sympathy. You’re tired, perhaps overworked, maybe your Tesla doesn’t drive itself well enough yet, no matter what it is sharing to gain sympathy becomes a selfish act. There are spaces and places you needed to share these things, perhaps with a friend or a counselor, a mentor, coach, but not with the young people you serve, not at least in an attempt to gain sympathy. And we got to be honest with ourselves about this one, we have to really look inward and say, Are we doing this to gain sympathy.
Brian Lawson: 02:17
The second form that oversharing can look like is sharing with young people without regard to their physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual development. We probably don’t need to share our struggles on getting a mortgage, or dealing with health insurance companies to a sixth grader. It is just not going to connect. And there are absolutely some of areas of our lives that we need to use great caution and wisdom when we share. Failing to recognize the age and developmentally appropriateness of your sharing can and will lead to upset parents, you better expect some phone calls.
Brian Lawson: 02:56
The last one I’m going to talk about today on oversharing is one that I’ve heard said before that you, “still own the story.” What that means is you’re going through a personal crisis, you’re right in the middle of it, perhaps you can’t share without breaking down.
So here are some thoughts to ponder. Are you at a place where you can share coherently? Have you had time to reflect on God’s movement in those spaces? Can you identify your successes or failures in the challenging season? You see when we are still in the middle of a painful situation, are sharing with young people like likely won’t achieve what we had hoped? Yes, you will gain sympathy, perhaps even some relationship equity. But it will not be healthy for the young person spiritual development.
Yeah, we can still ask for prayers and lean on those around us. But being careful not to overshare when we’re right in the middle of something is very important. We need to think carefully about whether we are an oversharer or not. If you are not sure if you’re an overshare. Ask those around you find somebody you trust that can be they’ll be brutally honest with you. And maybe they’ll tell you if you’re an overshare.
Brian Lawson: 04:15
But now in this episode, we’re really focusing on transparency, and healthy transparency is important. At the Youth Ministry Institute, we believe that is critical that we are transparent as leaders. Transparency will help us gain trust with those that we serve. And this trust will be an important tool to have as we seek to help young people follow Jesus. On some level, when we talk about transparency, what we’re really talking about is authenticity. Are you authentic with the young people and families in your ministry.
One definition I read recently on authenticity says that it’s being brave enough to be yourself and genuine enough to live according to your values. As youth and children’s ministers it will be important that You are authentic and sharing appropriate portions of your life. Your volunteers need to see that your family is real, or your home isn’t always perfectly clean. You young people need to hear about times that you have wrestled with your faith. They need to know that you’ve had moments of doubt. The people in the ministry you serve, need to know that you are not a pious robot who gets their faith right every moment of every day. They need to see the great moments and the challenging ones.
Brian Lawson: 05:32
Being authentic and transparent as a leader in age appropriate ways will help you gain trust. Trust in relationships, trust within your team of volunteers or student leaders. Trust within the staff of your church, and trust with families. This trust will help you as you seek to move people forward in their faith. So as you serve in ministry, may ask yourself, what of my life can I share today with those around me, not for sympathy, or to gain something for myself, but in a way that is helpful to others. If you want to make a significant impact in the lives of young people, you need to be a transparent and authentic leader. You need to be the one that shares their life appropriately so that people you serve can see that faith can actually be lived out in a normal person’s life.
Brian Lawson: 06:25
Friends, that’s all I’ve got for you today in this five minute mentoring episode. As always, I hope we’ve helped you make sense of this thing we call ministry.
To learn more, how we might guide you towards success and youth or children’s ministries, head over to yminstitute.com