You’re Never Too Young to Lead by Love

May 2, 2016

(This blog post was written by my favorite redhead - Kaleb White. Kaleb has been on staff for 6 years now and has served in our student ministry until recently he became a Community Campus Pastor and is leading the way in Rock Hill, SC. In addition to working at NewSpring, Kaleb has a heart and passion to raise up young leaders. This blog post is written to challenge and inspire students that they can be young and useful. I'd encourage you to share it with any young person you know!)

Being young in today’s world is nothing short of an absolute battle. Although we live in a day and time where there is more access to education, more knowledge available to us thanks to internet, and endless opportunity for success; today’s world is flooded with strange examples of leadership in every sector of society. The idea of building a business, or becoming successful through honesty and integrity, driven by solid values and the core convictions of serving and helping people seems as ancient to my generation as Facebook (sorry Mom - I know you love Facebook.) For instance, The best NFL quarterback of my lifetime is undoubtedly Tom Brady. He has won multiple Superbowls with very few “world class" wide receivers, is always at the top of the league in his statistics, and has made tens of millions of dollars doing so. However, his career will go down in history marked by a series of allegations that he’s a cheater. The music industry is another example. Songs these days have very little actual content in them that has any type of message that can benefit my generation in any positive way what so ever. Every time a young person turns on the radio or the television, we’re flooded with content that is anything but beneficial. So where should we go to find good influences? Glad you asked….

In the Bible, you will find all different types of leaders and leadership styles. All the way from the Kings of ancient Israel to the occupation of Rome by Caesar all around the Mediterranean rim. The common theme in most leadership roles was similar to the idea we have today: use whatever means necessary to establish and maintain control and power of the people you’re leading. However, about 2000 years ago, a guy showed up on the scene and re wrote the book on how to effectively lead people. His name was Jesus. His message is one that is debated as much as any other topic on the planet, and for good reason. He claimed to be the Son of God, and the true King of Israel, yet he never lived in a palace, wore fancy robes, or started any wars over land or power. He came with this message: love God, and love people.

In one of the books written about his life, he even goes as far to say that he didn’t come to be served, but rather to serve!! It was, and still is incredibly difficult to believe that a man with such power and ability would take such a stance on leadership. The beauty in his message though is that it is accessible and applicable to any age, race, or class of people. You can serve and love people regardless of where in the world you were born, who your parents were, what high school you went to, or any other number of excuses that would cause us to shy away from our responsibilities to lead by love. Jesus chose to serve alongside his disciples, not above them. He called them friends, not workers. He didn’t ask them to kiss his ring, he chose to wash their feet.

As a young person, you are never too young to lead by love. In your home, you have countless opportunities to serve. Doing dishes and folding laundry aren’t a burden when you see them as an opportunity to lead by love. Every time you do something like that you are tangibly loving your parents or guardians well by taking some tasks off their plates. Doing well in school doesn’t seem like a task when you realize that every opportunity you afford yourself in life is an opportunity you will have to exemplify the leadership style that Jesus lived. Want to get really practical? Use your gas money to serve other people. Buy somebody’s lunch in the cafeteria. Get a job and be accountable to your boss. Are you in college? Spend your margin finding ways to love and serve people on campus. In the workplace? Establish habits of generosity and kindness. I can promise you that will make you stand out. You’re not too young to make a difference. You’re not too small to change someone’s life. Leading by love is not a good suggestion, it is a mandate. Given to us by the most influential man who’s ever lived - Jesus. The man who built a worldwide reputation of loving and caring for people. Set a goal for your life that you can’t reach unless you do something crazy…then go do it. It’s time for money and power and status to become ancient motivators. It’s time for service and genuine love for people to be the catalyst for our radical lifestyles. You’re never too young to lead by love. Change the world. Start right now.

(P here - If you've enjoyed reading this post by Kaleb, I hope you'll love MY new leadership book The Most Excellent Way to Lead where I talk about what it means to lead by love. You can visit mostexcellentwaytolead.com to find a retailer near you and get your copy today! And if you're a leader under 30, I'd love for you to download my free ebook Not There Yet! where I share some of the insights I wish I knew as a young leader.)