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Whether you’ve been in youth ministry for three years or 30 years, you quickly learn that coffee (or caffeine for that matter) is a staple. You can take joy in the fact that at any time you can press a button and have a beautiful beverage. Or drive to a Starbucks and have a heavenly substance deemed “coffee.” But this isn’t about the goodness that is coffee, but rather what we can learn from the process of filtered coffee.

When it comes to student leadership, there’s magic that happens when the proper attitude is filtered down from the adults to the student leaders, and from the student leaders to the students. That “magic” can be both positive and negative.

The magic is this: it comes down to attitude.

As youth pastors/leaders/adult volunteers, what is our attitude? How are we treating our volunteers and student leaders? Are we greeting them with a smile or a grunt? Are we taking the time to listen to them or are we saying, “Later on, when I’m not busy?”
What we say and what we do will filter down to those we’re leading. It’s a scary thought.

I’ve learned three things that every leader should do to filter down a positive attitude.

1. Listen
Put down your pen, close your laptop, and turn off the music. Students need us to listen to them. We need to listen with our ears and listen with our hearts. When we show our student leaders how to stop and listen, they will do the same when a junior high student needs to talk.

2. Love
As hard as it is for humans to do so, we must aim to love unconditionally. We all have rough days. We all have those moments that we don’t want to talk to anyone. But we must. We’re the example that student leaders see. And who ever they’re leading will follow

3. Let Go
I’ve learned not to take “work” home with me. We must also leave our personal differences and thoughts outside the office door. Forgive whom you must and ask for forgiveness, if you must. Bring your troubles to the Cross—and let it go.

If there’s an adjustment in attitude needed in your student leaders, check the “coffee grinds.” It all filters down from the leadership.

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