Receiving… and Then Handing Over the Keys

By: José Esteban Juan

After introducing the principles of keychain leadership in the previous two posts, I want to share with you a personal testimony about the great result that experiencing this type of leadership produced in my ministerial life.

Testimony: In my early years of Christian life, I experienced a period of discovery and clarification about my calling. In time, I received confirmation from the Lord to serve in youth ministry, which I did with great pleasure and passion. After preparing myself in this area, I developed a great interest in accompanying young people in this very important stage of their lives. My great desire was to have the opportunity to serve a youth community from the position of President or Youth Pastor. My intention was not to gain more influence or leadership, but rather to implement new ideas and strategies in that ministry. We already learned in our first article that leadership does not depend on what position you hold, and I believe that God gave me the opportunity because He knew the desires of my heart. Psalm 37:4 says: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

One of the first things I did as youth president was identify young people who had the potential and desire to serve the Lord. I designed an intentional plan to train them and give them a key to ministry. I noticed a young man named Emmanuel in whom there was integrity, love for God and passion to serve others. As he became part of the team, I began to gradually prepare him to take my keys when my time in front was up. That year we worked a lot on very important aspects of youth ministry; things improved and lives were transformed: my own, the team members’, and those of the young people in our community. During the process, I gave keys to each of these young people; it was a commitment to them to continue serving the Lord and to grow as Christian leaders. When that year ended, I resigned from leading the ministry at the local level. Young Emmanuel came to take my key and lead the ministry along with the rest of the team. I realized that, although it was the first official position God had given me, it had also been my first official opportunity to help others grow. Today, that ministry has expanded a lot and has continued to transform the lives of many teenagers.

After giving the key to Emmanuel, God gave me a bigger leadership position, and I learned that sometimes it is necessary to give not just one key, but the entire key ring.

Jesus’ Example: The most transcendent keychain leader of all time was Jesus. This great leader began his ministry in Matthew 10:1, when he chose the twelve apostles. Throughout his career he invested in them, equipped them for the mission, and set a great example. Throughout the three years of their ministry, Jesus taught them to be vulnerable, to trust others, to be mature, and to be responsible leaders. Each of these things are keys to becoming a key chain leader. In addition, he ended his ministry by giving his huge key chain to his disciples, as described in Acts 1. The great thing that Jesus teaches us is that we not only need to be bearers of a metaphorical key chain, but we need to be bearers of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:8 he commanded his disciples to wait for the filling of the Holy Spirit, so that they would minister effectively.

After hearing my testimony, you may be confident that being a keychain leader is not very difficult. You may have the opportunity to carry a ministerial keychain, but believe me; it is not worth it to merely receive and hand over keys without the Holy Spirit of God. Seek more of him in your life, and you will be a great keychain leader!

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