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If you have a younger sibling then you have probably heard these words, “You are not the boss of me!”  Your intention was to give good counsel or protect your little brother or sister from pain but instead you were accused of being bossy. You had to discover creative ways to lead them without them thinking you were the “boss.”

We face the same type of challenge in student ministry. As leaders we have an obligation to give good counsel and protect our students. They should be willing to listen and learn, but the reality is they struggle with being told what to do just like we do.

How much better to teach them how to think rather than tell them  what to think.” Telling them what to think simply creates compliant students who color within the lines while they are in our youth groups. The question we have to ask is “what are they going to do when no one is there to tell them what to do?”

At the beginning of each school year my friend Ric Garland and I teach a seminar called Source One: Building Model Ministries at the Word of Life Bible Institute. Our goal is to “teach students how to think” not “tell them what to think” by helping define their Biblical Principles as a foundation for life.

We have discovered that when we equip students with the tools to think for themselves, “You are not the boss of me” never seems to come up in conversations!

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