Superfriends

As a child in the 1970s, I awoke early on Saturday mornings so as not to miss my favorite show, “The Superfriends.” 6:00am. Right after the national anthem on one of our 3 available television stations near Des Moines, IA (PBS not included. They didn’t show cartoons. That’s anathema to kids!).
Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, & the Wonder Twins dominated many of my thoughts. But Superman truly confused me. Even as a 5 year old, I realized that Superman’s skills were obviously above & beyond his counterparts. In fact, he didn’t really need them except for when he came into contact with kryptonite. Which was an oddly frequent occurrence. But they could always use his help. He was the super-ist of them all!
It’s all make believe of course, but as I grew older I came to respect that Superman wasn’t an isolated super jerk that ignored his differently (in some cases far less) skilled Superfriends.
I’m passionate about helping leaders survive & thrive in ministry. I sense a gifting and calling to work with leaders in different fields of ministry from children’s pastors to foreign missionaries, yet my sweet spot has always been youth leaders. I particularly am hungry to see youth leaders have a biblical vision of discipleship, with a “we are in this together” mentality that fuels them to work with & train other leaders who who will partner in creating even more disciples. This is far healthier than a “He who has the most skills gets to dominate” leadership mentality.
Sadly, far too many youth leaders like being the a more isolated version of Superman. It’s nice being the smartest guy in the room. It’s nice being invaluable. It’s nice being the go-to-gal who is needed frequently. Its nice not having others think of good ideas. Far less intimidating too.
However there is much going on below the surface. The subtle kryptonites of pride, arrogance, and a host of other evils can paralyze and stunt the growth of a leader, his flock, and the potential for actual discipleship. This is a problem, and it’s not addressed enough.
The first Group magazine of 2012 stated that one of the biggest desires of youth leaders is to have more effective volunteers. Yet I personally know several dozen youth leaders, and very few of them budget their time and finances towards raising up others to minister well. The volunteers they oversee are only trained by themselves as the primary leader. No books. No training seminars by gifted teachers from outside their local church. No group discussions about leadership or working with teens. Could it be that the desire and need for better trained volunteers, is primarily the result of our collective super-pastors that don’t know how too…or won’t…raise up ministry minded “superfriends?”
I believe this is true.

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