Minding the Gap
Something unique to humans is the power to affect the lives of others. Consider how song lyrics, speeches, jokes, social media posts, books, and screenplays move us to dance, worship, laugh, get upset, challenge our beliefs, and move us to tears.  Unquestionably, we have a responsibility to impact humanity on a soul level.
This involves minding the gap in our leadership. “Minding the gap” is a term coined in the UK alerting underground-train passengers to the danger created by the space between the platform and train car. Similarly, there is a gap between where we are as leaders — possessing often a deeper knowledge, spirituality, maturity, etc. — and our followers. Acknowledging this gap exists is critical in preventing a tumble into the pride and frustration that commonly emerges as the gap widens.
Paul effectively minds the gap between Jews and Gentiles when he writes about being “thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved — the Jew first, and then people everywhere!” (Romans 1:16 TPT). Though it appears Paul is elevating the Israelites, he is notifying the Romans that God has tasked the Jewish nation with the responsibility to steward his plan for humankind.
Like Paul, leaders are stewards of the mission they’ve been given for the sake of God’s people. They leverage their role for the betterment of others and mind the gap by intentionally employing the following three practices:
O God of my life, I’m lovesick for you in this weary wilderness. I thirst with the deepest longings to love you more, with cravings in my heart that can’t be described. Such yearning grips my soul for you, my God! (Psalm 63:1 TPT).
At first, this one seems obvious. Still, ministry leaders regularly view studying God as the same as spending time with him. Leading others well, minding that gap, requires engaging God solely to have our thirst quenched. Crave him.
The religious leader stood apart from the others and prayed, “How I thank you, O God, that I’m not wicked like everyone else” (Luke 18:11 TPT).
As leaders, we’re tempted to think too highly of ourselves. In the above Scripture, Jesus is explaining the snare of a prideful leader. He reminds us that not having everything figured out is refreshing to others. Pray for a renewed curiosity and become a leader that regularly asks thoughtful questions.
Be a safe space
Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up (1 Corinthians 13:7 TPT).
Healthy leaders are hesitant to assign a negative motive to their people’s behaviors and views. They recognize that personal biases — justly or unjustly — tend to inform their opinions of others and can negatively affect individual encounters. Believing and wanting the best for your people creates a sincerer understanding of, and connection with, your people.
These three practices are like the Chinese Bamboo Tree lying dormant for five years. Yet once the tree breaks the surface, in just five weeks, it grows 90 feet tall!  Yes, as overwhelming leading your people may feel at moments, continue watering and caring for them, even when the results aren’t immediately apparent. Keep seeking Jesus, stay humble, and believe the best about your people. Soon the root system will take hold, and your people will sprout.
 Stanford, Dan. Losing the Cape (p. 162). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.
 Torres, Elita. “What We Can Learn From The Chinese Bamboo Tree About Dreams #5MinMotivation.” Lead Grow Develop Shares Insights on Leadership, Productivity and Personal Development. 14 Sept. 2016, https://leadgrowdevelop.com/chinese-bamboo-tree-dreams-5minmotivation/.
WellConnected is an initiative of OneHope, and is a gathering place for children and youth ministers to access resources, research, and content to raise up the next generation. It’s a collaborative platform to equip leaders and influencers to effectively reach the kids in their communities. We invite churches and ministers to join one another in coming up with innovative solutions for today’s realities. We are continually learning and growing from each other — sharing knowledge, insight, and best practices.