Stepping into leadership can often be intimidating if you’re someone like me, who finds yourself doubting whether you have leadership qualities or influence over the people around you. However, God calls us to be leaders when we put our faith in Christ. He calls us to lead others into the Kingdom and presence of Jesus. It’s important to know that we’re called to be leaders in order to know our purpose, but we have to make sure we’re not calling ourselves. It has to be God who is calling us. Otherwise, our leadership is driven by our own desires and self-interest.
In the summer of 2017, I felt the Lord call me into youth ministry to mentor high school girls. At the time, I was home for the summer, and the church I attended at school didn’t have a youth group. Naturally, I was confused about how the Lord wanted me to pursue this call. I was also insecure about my leadership abilities because I didn’t feel that I fit the characteristics of youth leaders. I remember thinking,
There’s nothing special about me. I don’t have anything to offer these girls.
When I went back to school in the fall, I almost forgot the promise God made a couple months before. I had just gotten back into my routine when a friend texted me, inviting me to a meeting for a summer camp called Kanakuk. I never considered myself a “camp person,” so the thought of being a counselor never occurred to me. However, I decided to at least attend the meeting. I ended up interviewing for a counselor position, which I was told was popular and difficult to get. One month later, I was offered the position, and last summer, I spent six weeks in Missouri as a high school girls counselor. The Lord fulfilled His promise just like He said He would.
This story may sound perfectly constructed, but don’t get me wrong—this was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Even at camp, I struggled with insecurity about my leadership capacity and compared myself to other counselors. Most days, I felt like I wasn’t making an impact, but God used all of that to show me exactly what those insecurities are: lies.
The Lord used last summer to re-shape everything I thought qualified a leader. The truth is, what really qualifies a leader is that they are called by God. He provides the rest. A leader isn’t threatened by what “better” things others can do. Instead, they rejoice in others’ victories, knowing that everyone has a unique purpose in the Kingdom. Our leadership is also not determined by how many people we reach, but by how well we equip and empower those around us.
Someone once told Nancy Alcorn that if she built her ministry around Christ and raised up leaders from the next generations, it would live beyond her. I had to come to this realization at camp: that no matter how much I wanted to, I didn’t have the power to change these girls; only Christ does. God showed me how to lead from where I am. If I could only share the gospel with one girl, that’s more than I could do apart from Him. My call to leadership was being faithful in building godly relationships with my campers and trusting that God was planting small seeds to create immense impact. My role was to simply point these girls to Jesus and encourage them to be lights in their communities.
Luke 16:10 says,
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much. If you feel that you lack influence or leadership capabilities, be encouraged today that God is using you exactly where you are. Anything can be a ministry, so stay in the battle, because God is taking what you have and making it into more than you can imagine.