To Lead as He Directs

As missions education leaders, we have a tremendous responsibility to the children under our care. We must keep them safe while we are leading them. We must teach them about God, His church, and missions. And, we must teach them to become responsible leaders.

Here are some ways that leaders can help their children develop the right leadership skills in the future.

First of all, leaders must set a good example. As a leader, we must allow our children to see us balance our work, church, family, and leadership roles. By setting a good example, we teach them to be accountable for the tasks they need to accomplish.

Second, we must emphasize perseverance. The best leaders learn how to handle failure as gracefully as they handle success. Our children need to be exposed to disappointment. We must learn to stop sheltering them from seeing things go wrong. They must see us working through failure and mistakes and finding ways to overcome the negativity that is often present in our lives.

Third, we must help children build negotiation skills. Every good leader has to know the art of compromise. We must teach children that all questions don’t end in yes or no. At times, our children must learn to negotiate a better or different solution than the one being offered.

Fourth, leaders must teach children how to have confidence in their communication. When you go to a restaurant with your children, instead of ordering for them, allow them to order for themselves. By doing so, they’ll learn to speak directly, clearly, and with confidence. All children benefit from parents and leaders who allow them to speak up and communicate effectively.

Fifth, teach children how to plan. Whether you are planning a lesson or planning a recognition service for the spring, don’t leave children out of the planning process. Allow them to brainstorm alongside you. Delegate age-appropriate tasks to children.

Finally—and this is a tough one for most leaders—avoid jumping in to rescue them. When a child works on a project or activity, leaders can often be tempted to jump in and help, especially if they see the child struggling. Instead of jumping in, step back for a few minutes and let children work through the activity themselves. Once they have concluded their work, a wise leader can then review the challenges and problems that came up during the task and ask for ideas on how things could have been done differently.

As leaders, we not only have weekly or monthly teaching responsibilities—we have a responsibility to teach those who will come behind us as leaders. At national WMU, we pray for you daily that God will give you the wisdom and strength to lead as He directs.

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