How to Start Being a Keychain Leader

By: José Esteban Juan

The previous article gave an introduction to a topic that represents a very important pillar for churches that want to revitalize the way they minister to young people. Being a keychain leader is not just about enabling others. That is extremely important, but it isn’t everything.

The Fuller Youth Institute has identified several vital characteristics of those recognized as “keychain leaders.”

  1. Be vulnerable: Vulnerability is essential in leadership in general and more so in this specific case. To be a vulnerable leader is to reveal yourself clearly and compassionately in front of those you lead. A keychain leader must work on this value with great persistence, since they will have to live among their youth and church with the constant intention of knowing them, shepherding them transparently, and serving them in a humble way. These actions of vulnerability will help you to know their hearts, gifts, talents, and lives in a deeper way, creating the opportunity to recognize which key in your key ring God has for them.
  2. Know when a teenager or other member is ready to take the keys: Being a keychain leader represents a great responsibility, because we must not only know who to give the key to, but also when that person is ready to receive it. It can be a great risk to hand over a responsibility to a person when they are not yet prepared spiritually or emotionally. It is good to remember that keys are not for those who have shiny new key rings, but for those who have nothing, that is, those lay youth and adults with a passion to serve but without a key in their hands. That is why giving a key away must be preceded and accompanied by investment in the lives of those young leaders. Thus, they will develop a solid spiritual base with which they can wisely handle the keys that God has put in their hands.
  3. Let young people and the church open new doors (trust): One of the hardest things for some leaders is letting their young people open new doors on their own. However, this is a good strategy to show them that they are trusted and that they are capable enough to advance and grow. In addition to letting them know that they depend on God, and that when situations come up that they cannot deal with, they can come to us. Being a keychain leader requires learning to trust others, even if the keys we hand them open doors we were not aware of.
  4. Be mature: Maturity is essential for keychain leaders because they must make many significant decisions and deal with people who may be struggling with their identity, purity or spirituality. Therefore, all decisions must be made by people who have a lot of wisdom and spiritual maturity, always seeking God’s will.

These four qualities play a very important role in keychain leadership. Developing them will not occur over night, but with God’s help, it will certainly will be possible.

I invite you to ask God to examine your heart. He will help you put the pieces in the right place so that you become a keychain leader with influence and passion for what you do. Remember: “It all starts when we hand over the keys.”

In the next post, I will share my testimony of how other leaders have given me as a young leader keys – or responsibilities – and how it has made all the difference in my life and ministry.

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