5 Lessons from Leading 20-Somethings

I recently turned 30, which I didn’t think would ever happen. I started my adult life bungee jumping and tour guiding. I never made life plans beyond 30 because I honestly didn’t think I’d get here. I also never thought that 30 was that old, until last week when I made a reference to Yogi Bear and a 20-something student I was working with said “Huh?” The more I explained, the less comprehension I got.

So before I get too far removed from my 20’s, here are five lessons I’ve learned from leading 20-somethings for the past 10 years (and being one myself not that long ago).

1. Invite:

20-Somethings want to be invited to be part of the grander scheme. They want to know that you want them there. Invite the 20’s you’re surrounded by into your life – show them what it’s really like to just be you, at home on a Saturday, out on a ministry trip, and in those meetings you go to so frequently. Invite into Community too. Call the 20-somethings to join you and your partners – make them part of the team.

2. Stick to Your Commitments:

You made a commitment to do something, to show up at a certain time, to be available, to communicate when things are going good, and when they’re going bad. Guess what? It’s incredibly important to 20-somethings that you stick to your Commitment. Show up. Be vulnerable. Have an open door. Do whatever it was you said you’d do.

Hold the 20-somethings you work with to the commitments they made too. They might not love it at the time – they might want to move on to that ‘next great and exciting adventure.’ Trust me, as you hold them to their commitments, and are faithful to yours, they will respect you all the more.

3. Work Alongside Them:

Nothing can replace the dirt under your nails, the joy on your face, or the frustration in your voice. These things are the hallmarks of genuine reality. Work alongside 20-somethings – be there with them in everything you’re leading them through. When you have to make the tough calls, they’ll be there to observe and learn.

4. Character is Important:

Your character matters, but you already knew that. Did you know that your character might be the difference between inspiring sulking submission or fanatical following or that your character might be the tipping point between giving up or pushing on when things get hard? People are willing to follow good character.

The character of the people you’re leading matters too. They’ve read books talking about how they need to show up, step up and grow up. 20-somethings are trying hard to develop their character. Help them out – Tell them what you see specifically. Call out the good.

5. Believe:

This generation of 20-somethings might be the most incredible generation of 20-somethings there has ever been. They have more opportunities, more resources, and more potential. Believe in the 20-somethings you lead. Believe that their potential is only just beginning to be tapped. Believe in them to do the impossible. Believe in them to change the world.

They struggle with doubt, and fear of failure, and insecurity. God’s plans, God’s goodness, and God’s sovereignty are bigger than any doubt, failure, or insecurity – So believe in God’s call on their lives. When 20-somethings passionately tell you how they’re going to change the world – Celebrate with them and propel them forward. Believe in what God wants to do through the 20-somethings he’s entrusted to your leadership.


I want to invite you to come to join us at YWAM Montana Lakeside.

If you’re in your 20’s – Come be a part of what God is doing here in training, discipling and sending people to Taiwan, Nepal, Ukraine, India, Thailand and Cambodia. I invite you to come and be trained yourself.

If you’re out of your 20’s – Come be a part of what God is doing – bring your character, bring your ability to work alongside, make a commitment to see the nations reached, and believe in what God wants to do.

Here at YWAM Montana Lakeside we are called to make Christian disciples, to evangelize the lost and to mobilize the church to action by challenging and giving opportunity to children, teens and adults for strategic short and long-term missions worldwide.

We’re looking for volunteers to join us in our mission to know God and make him known, together! You can learn more and see our open positions by checking out our Staff Needs page. www.ywammontana.org/staffing-needs

Ready to make the jump.

At YWAM Montana-Lakeside, we are all about doing whatever it takes to know God and to make Him known, together! We’d love to help you make that next step in your global missions education. Apply now!