Unlock Keychain Leadership: Sharing Power with the Right People at the Right Time
Definitions are a good place to start, so I appreciate that the authors took time defining what they mean by “keys” and “keychain leaders” at the very beginning of this chapter (53). I’ll do that too.
Keys: Capabilities, power, and access of (to?) leaders that carry the potential to empower young people.
Keychain Leaders: Are aware of the keys on their keychain; and, Intentional about entrusting and empowering all generations.
Often, the first people in a young person’s life to give them a set of “keys” (literally and figuratively) are the parents. I love the illustration shared in this chapter to really drive* this message home. I would love to talk with the parents I work with about the literal and figurative keys they give their kids. Are they more willing to give a physical key, but withhold sharing keys in other ways? Which type of key is easier to give? Is it scary, empowering, something else, or all of the above when parents realize what these keys can mean for the growth of their children (and the growth for them as parents)? What do they need to feel best equipped as parents so that they can pass these keys on to their children?
Our young people need multiple adults to recognize their potential and hand them the keys they need to step up and shine. That means it takes the whole community. The keychain leaders described in this chapter are not bound to a particular role. Keychain leadership is a spirit and commitment that permeates every area of the church (84).
[Anyone who wants] top-notch preaching can download sermons from amazing communicators nationwide. But they can’t download a vibrant community (72).
Growing Young is a book about community and a love for the church. It’s not a manual for “How to Have the Most Awesome Youth Group in Town (so the other churches are jealous, everyone looks up to you, and you can feel good about yourself).” This is a book about commitments made by the entire congregation for the entire congregation. It’s about honing in on that elixir of the Holy Spirit – vitality – and unplugging the ol’ pipes to set the water of life free, washing through every room and relationship that makes your community yours, quenching the parched and dry, so that the promise of life may sprout again.
We don’t exist in a vacuum and to really grow, we can’t do it alone. We need each other. We need leadership. So, it makes sense that chapter two digs into the first of six core commitments shared in the Growing Young Wheel – Unlocking Keychain Leadership. We need to start with this particular commitment because without strong leadership “growing young” will be nothing more than a nice idea. Leadership is critical and this chapter takes time describing what type of leadership is needed, what these leaders look like, and how leaders are cultivated as early in life as possible. As mentioned above, these leaders are called Keychain Leaders.
Keychain leaders recognize their part in the process of growth for a church community member to move from satisfied participant to a contributing partner in ministry. A Keychain leader does all the stuff in between those two things – the naming, the inviting, the work, the patience, the guidance, and the willingness to give the time that those little words “to a” need to become.
We need not just strong leadership in general, but strong leaders with authenticity, foresight, and willingness to share the keys. Chapter Two goes into detail describing the particular aspects of keychain leaders and what makes them unique to other types of leaders (57). Keychain Leaders are:
- Know what matters to people (not just other pastors)
- Entrust and empower others
- Take the long view
Just glancing at those qualities, which do you think are best exemplified in your church culture? Which do you struggle with the most? If you were to list them in order of strongest to weakest, which would be number one and where would the rest fall?
I appreciate how packed these chapters have been with not only information, but practical uses for the information as well. The tone is encouraging, engaging, and helpful. I look forward to sharing it with my leadership team. There is a lot in this chapter. I’d love to hear what stands out to others when they have had the chance to read it. If anything, it will spark a great discussion. Looking forward to chapter 3!
*Excuse the pun.
I am thrilled to be part of the #growingyoung launch team for Fuller Youth Institute. I just received my copy of the book and have eagerly begun to read it. I’ll be posting my reflections and chapter highlights here. The book is Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church by Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin.
If you would like to pre-order your own copy or learn more about this book and research, please visit Churches Growing Young.