Why Project Runway’s Heidi Klum Would Be a Great Youth Worker

pr9-timandheidiReality television star and super model Heidi Klum is one of my favorite people on Lifetime’s Project Runway.  (Obviously…she’s the only reason most guys watch that show!)

My middle son and I watch every week – and the rest of the family endures.  I have a few good friends, like Stephanie Caro, who watch with me in absentia through text exclamations and criticisms.  (We should seriously be fan-judges on the next season!)

Last week, after a particularly poignant moment with the show’s mentor, Tim Gunn, Stephanie and I decided he would make a great youth leader.  She expounded on that idea here!

But as I watched this week, I realized he isn’t the only potential youth worker on that show.  Heidi would be a great youth worker, as well.

1.  Heidi gives clear and understandable expectations at the beginning of every show.  She succinctly lays out the parameters for each challenge.  And while your students might give push back with boundaries, it’s one way they know they are loved.

2.  Heidi clearly uses her expertise in fashion to honestly share truth with the designers in an effort to help them become better.  She never pulls punches or waters down fashion sense for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.  The Truth youth workers wield is poised to help them be better.  They don’t get there if we water that down.

3.  That said – she never gets personal – and she’s never rude.  She has found the perfect balance of disagreeing with a designer’s choices while honoring them as a designer.  Students can learn to respect a youth leader who can disagree with them without denigrating them.

3.  Heidi says ‘you suck’ with a smile – and then lets the designers know they are loved with a kiss.  Sometimes we have to say hard things to students.  They can receive it when it comes in love.

And face it, Heidi is gorgeous.  Do you know how many boys you’d have in your youth ministry if she was one of your youth leaders??!

Wounds of a friend…

timthumbProverbs 27.6 – Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.

Have you ever had to say something hard to a student, a parent, a colleague?  You know what I mean – the kind of call-out that you lay awake at night pondering – assessing what it might do to your friendship, wondering if someone else ought to be the message-bearer, sensing the rise of anxiety as you run through every possible disastrous scenario in your mind…

This week, I’m spending some time at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Indianapolis.  On of the reasons I love it so much is that some of my closest friends and allies are here in this place.  They are people who are unafraid to speak truth in my life, even if it’s uncomfortable.  And they have earned the right to do it.  And they do it with love.

The passage says ‘Wounds from a sincere friend’ – and sincerity takes some time.  It involves building relationship and community.  It involves earning the right to be heard.  It involves being a lover, even when families or co-workers decide not to heed your message or could care less that you gave it.

Remember, as you’re guiding students, their families, your staff and volunteers — even as you invest in your friendships:  You earn the right to say difficult truths.  You don’t get that seat automatically just because of your position or prowess.  Build into the lives of the people you serve – and when they’re best served with a difficult or deeply honest truth, you’ll be in a position to serve it to them on a silver platter.

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