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Like most Jr. High youth workers, I watch cartoons. I use the excuse that I’m staying “relevant” or “looking for illustrations” and while that is very true on both accounts, it’s also true that I just still like cartoons. Right now, I’m very into the Avengers Cartoon on the Disney Channel as well as the Amazing Spider-Man. There was one episode recently that really caught my attention. It was a Spider-Man episode that Captain America was in- I know right, so great! The start of this episode was perfect in that Captain America was teaching a team of young super heroes (Spider-Man included) a very important leadership lesson. He told them that their “powers” were just one tool in a tool box, and that they could not rely only on that power to be an effective superhero. He taught that success was a combination of many things: powers, skills, knowledge, and most importantly the team you work with. It was such an eye opening moment for me in that I was learning and being challenged by such an unlikely show. I started thinking of myself as a Youth Pastor, and the “tools” in my tool box. Do I have a diverse set tools and am I relying on one more than others?

So in short, after thinking about this for about three hours, I took away some valuable learnings.

We all have clear gifts, some of which we lean on more than others. What works in one place, will not work in all places, and like most of us in ministry, every day brings its own unique challenges. One day, I am the teacher; next, the event planner; and then a parent calls and I’m the counselor. Do you have a couple tools or many tools? Only you can answer that. The real question is, do you feel prepared for anything?

What are you relying on? For me, this is so key. Not only am I relying on Jesus, but am I trusting the team he put around me? Whether they be staff or volunteers, I don’t believe anyone is there by accident. How are you working as a team? Are you working to develop the strengths of others, or are you trying to do it yourself? Not even Jesus did it alone.

How are you improving? We all know that there is never a day when you have it all figured out. What are you doing to continue moving to the next level. More schooling, networking and sharpening with other pastors, reading the new books out there? Do you have a mentor or coach who has your best interest in mind and is pushing you to develop? Here is a simple one, do you have a list of goals? Check out Mark Batterson’s book Circle Maker for help with goal setting.

What do you need to spend time this year developing? For every leader I work with it’s something different, but everyone has some area in which they need to develop their skills. What is the one or two things that, if you spent more time in them, could really take your leadership to the next level? What you get out of it is determined by what you put into it.

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Justin Herman

Junior High Pastor at Mariners Church
Hi my name is Justin and this is my blog. I love Jr. High ministry and leadership so I talk about that a lot. I work at the church of my dreams getting to oversee all of Jr. High with a great team who are the best in the business. I'm married to the woman of my dreams, Brittany and we live in Southern California.

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