My good friend Sam Luce wrote a great post last week about adult ministry. He’s been a campus pastor now for more than a year and he’s discovered something interesting. When it comes to leading kids or leading adults, the thing that’s going to make you successful in either one has less to do with unique factors to the particular age groups and more to do with your ability to exhibit leadership. Read his “Why leading adults is the same as leading kids” here.

I want to piggy back off what he wrote here, because I believe he is 100% on to something. Last year I was fully immersed in leading the student ministry at Gateway Church. Within a few weeks, I learned a similar truth. 80% of student ministry is no different from leading children’s ministry. Leading and caring for your volunteers and leaders is the most important thing and the better you do that, the more successful you’ll be. I will never claim to be anywhere near an expert on student ministry, and I’ll not admit that I did a bang up job leading our student ministry last year, but I did recognize some of these truths. In hiring staff for any position, I’d look for their ability to lead far above their expertise to be the big personality on stage. Sure, that may be important, but leadership is key.

Here’s the other thing I learned recently. regardless of the size of your ministry, leadership is the secret to success. My first 4 years of ministry, I led a Children’s Ministry of 8 kids that great to just under 50. I wish I knew then what I know now. If so, I’d probably have done either twice as much or what I did do in half the time. Back then, I did everything. Why? Because I could. The ministry was small enough, I could pretty much run everything. I wore myself out, but it was possible.

Now, it’s impossible. When you’re running a ministry of 200+, you have to rely on others. You have to lead others to help you. If you don’t, everything will fall apart. You have to lead because of necessity. I know that I can lead a ministry of 1000 by focusing my leadership on 5-8 people. Man, I wish I’d known that when my ministry was only 40-50. I probably could have focused on leading 2-3 people and delegated far more. My ministry could have been 10 times more relational and I could have focused on the most important things.

That’s it. Leadership is it. Whether you’re leading kids or adult, dozens or thousands, leadership is the secret to lasting success.