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Faith Leaders 4min read

Looking to Change the Game? Change Your Perspective

Pastor Tommy Kyllonen

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Pastor Tommy Kyllonen, also known as “Urban D,” for my Ministry Pivot podcast.

For the last 15 years, Tommy Kyllonen has been the lead pastor of the Crossover Church in Tampa, Florida. He recently published the book “Frames: Your Frames Can Change the Game.”

Your “frame,” as defined by Pastor Kyllonen, is your perspective. The risk of putting on the wrong frame is that people may miss out on greatness, he writes in his book, designed to help readers “flip their frames.”

“Frames will give you a new prescription to help you see clearer and have a new vision for your life,” Pastor Kyllonen writes.

Our conversation made me consider some of our frames in our churches and faith communities. And two significant ones came to mind: Our perspective on leadership and our perspective on youth.

Leadership Perspective 

One necessary frame, or point of view, that my conversation with Pastor Kyllonen helped me to reconsider is the importance of leaders delegating some of their responsibilities, so they can more wisely use their time.

Often, as leaders, we may feel like we have to do it all and do it all the time. It’s important to shift this frame from “I need to do it all” to “I need to do what only I can do.”

I can’t tell you how many pastors and leaders I have spoken with or coached that I discovered during my review that they are doing everything.

Of course, the pastor must do some of the projects — such as casting vision for the year ahead. But many tasks can be delegated. This, in turn, would allow pastors and faith leaders more time to dig into the few projects they must do.

It’s time for you to change your perspective on leadership and primarily focus on what you must do so you can see the fruits of your labor and not be bogged down by extraneous duties.

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Youth Perspective

Another necessary frame, or point of view, that my conversation with Pastor Kyllonen helped me to reconsider is how the faith community views youth.

Often, I think our youth and students aren’t put in the proper focus in church and life. I believe we often don’t put as much emphasis on them as we should because we think their best is yet to come, and we may not correctly assess their value as there are at their young age.

If your church doesn’t focus on students (and their families) and provide a space for them to grow spiritually and otherwise, it will be hard to engage and encourage younger families to be part of your church.

To help have the proper frame or perspective on youth, it’s essential to focus on who they are instead of who they may be in the future. It’s about “now,” not “next.”

With that frame in mind, who are the younger people in your church or community you’re pouring into, so they can grow and eventually fill leadership roles?

This is key because the leadership of churches and places of worship is getting older, according to the Faith Communities Today research initiative. The average clergy member is 57 today compared to 50 in 2000.

One day we won’t be able to do everything we’re currently doing (especially if we don’t start delegating). If we care about our legacy, we must sharpen our perspective on youth in our churches and community.

Change your perspective, change the game

As Pastor Kyllonen mentioned, perspective is everything! How you see life, yourself, and others can create a crisis or opportunities.

I encourage you to pivot your frame. Sharpen your perspective, especially regarding what kind of leader you want to be and how you nurture youth to help them develop into people with a spiritual life, a heart for community, and hopefully a pathway to leadership.

Listen to the podcast episode.

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About the Author

Russell St. Bernard is the director for ministry operations at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Maryland, and the founder of After the Music Stops, a full-service youth ministry company as well as founder of Ministry Pivot, a company dedicated to assisting leaders and churches seize opportunities for growth.

Russell St. Bernard