The first of these perils is that I am young.
Leadership seems to be best received by learners when it is being taught by someone who is older, experienced, and has been around the block for a while (or as my dad calls these people, “blue hairs”). Currently, I am 25 five years old, which is half the age of many people who are still actively in the workforce. This makes it difficult to offer advice, insight, or coaching when someone has had more experience and training than I might have had. In addition to that, some people believe that someone who teaches leadership does not know how to lead. The old urban legend of “Those who can’t do, teach” can be a hindrance to my ability to positively influence leaders.
However, the only way that you are able to teach is by having done something. And that something I do is reflect as much as possible on my experiences while also studying very hard every day in preparation for teaching leadership. Even though I still feel that my youth gets in the way of my ability to teach, I persist anyway—working hard to share what I have learned with other leaders so they can benefit from my experience and study. However, in the midst of my hard work I encounter another pitfall I need to be aware of: balancing family and work.
In the past I have had trouble balancing work and family life. Even though my little sister lived less than a mile from me, I had a bad habit of going weeks without seeing or speaking to her. My family life has drastically improved since I started dating Jen, my girlfriend, but I still might struggle with it from time to time. Because I have a tremendous desire to serve leaders, that puts me in danger of working a lot and putting my family on the back burner.
I want to be a loving husband to Jen in the future (when we are married) and I want to be a great father to my children. I do realize that doing a great job of serving leaders while also being a great family man is difficult, but it is something I am going to have to learn to juggle and balance as I continue with my work.
Luckily, I have had some great help in this area from men who have guided me. I have had a dear friend, Rod, who shared with me his story of almost losing his marriage because he worked so much, and I have benefited from reading and re-reading a book by Andy Stanley titled, Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins when Family and Work Collide? In addition to fighting to be a good father and husband, I also need to be mindful of how to be loyal to my future wife.
Sexual temptation is something that most men have to work hard on to make sure it does not become a pitfall to their family life and ministry. My own sexual purity is something that I have worked very hard on over the past three years to get right with God on.
Currently, working at a nonprofit requires that I spend a lot of time around women. So I have put specific measures in place to prevent myself from being in positions where I might be tempted to commit sexual sin. But, as a young male I will always have to be on guard in this area in order to be sexually pure and to protect my mind, heart, and actions. Again, another book that I have greatly benefited from in this area is Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time by Steven Arterburn and Fred Stoker.
Many Christian leaders have had great ministries completely washed away because of their sexual sin. As a young male moving forward with my ministry, I know sexual temptation is a pitfall I need to be mindful of and stay away from.
Another pitfall I will have to beware of as I move forward with my ministry to serve leaders is that starting something new is extremely difficult. Starting a new organization based on teaching leadership is especially difficult because I do not have a platform of authority to teach from. Even more difficult for me is that my core strength is writing, and there is very little money in writing books.
Therefore, I currently work full-time in order to support myself while at the same time working hard to do the work of teaching leaders in the evenings and on Sundays. (Saturday is my Sabbath day, a topic I will share later.) Given these three pitfalls, I have several practices that I know will help to mediate them either directly or indirectly, and I hope these spiritual practices will help me to move forward in my ministry.
Question: What are the perils and pitfalls you face in your work and ministry?
 Andy Stanley, Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins when Family and Work Collide? (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Publishers, 2002).
 Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time (Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press, 2009).