Something that comes across as off-putting in ministry leadership is when a figurehead in youth ministry uses the wrong type of language to describe the mantle they carry. If you want to inspire a team to reach further, dream bigger & serve harder then it is important to understand the value of proclaiming all statements you make in leadership from a tone of ownership and not possession.

Ownership is inclusive and allows the team you lead to attach themselves to the statements you make as you make the choice to own the mantle you carry. Possession is exclusive and shuts more people out than it draws in. We need to take ownership over our ministries but we constantly need to check ourselves to make sure that ownership doesn’t become a spirit of possession.

We have all been entrusted with the team we lead, but it’s important to remember the following things:

1. It’s not your youth ministry, you’ve been entrusted to steward it for a time and season.

The Youth Ministry does not belong to you, it’s your churches. There will be many youth pastors who lead a youth ministry over the life of a church. It is imperative that you build into the teams you lead a love for our church, not just a love for you.

2. It’s not your team

The team that you lead should love you. They should feel comfortable coming to you. They should follow you and the vision you cast. BUT, as their youth pastor or department leader YOU have a responsibility not to build the youth ministry around yourself. The Youth team belongs to the Church, not to the Youth Pastor. Just like the parable of the servants with the talents, we have been entrusted to grow what belongs to the Master (God).

Some practical steps to instil a healthy culture are to:

  • Make sure the team you lead have access to other significant people in your church.
  • Make sure the team you lead are tethered to the church through multiple mentors & pastors speaking into their world.
  • Make a decision to be secure in your leadership to the point where you don’t need to know every conversation those in the team you lead have with other pastors in your church.

3. The team you lead are not serving you they’re serving God

Make sure the tasks you ask of leaders lines up with this viewpoint. Things like asking someone to wash your car should not be required of a leader if they do it because they love the person leading them great! But as their oversight don’t expect something like that from them. On the flip side though, never feel bad for asking leaders to serve the house. At the end of the day, they’re not doing it for you, they’re doing it for God.


As figureheads in youth ministry let’s all make the commitment to speak with ownership and not possession. Here are some examples of statements of Possession/ownership:

Possessive statements:

I love MY Youth Ministry
My team is great
These are MY leaders

Statements of ownership:

I love OUR youth ministry
Our team is so great
These are our leaders

If you want to go FAST go by yourself. If you want to go FAR include others on the journey. A language of possession is an easy way to turn people off the vision you are casting. A language of ownership will motivate more people to join the cause you have given your life to. Though subtle, it is important as leaders of people that we intentionally develop the ability to identify the difference.