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Teen Mania Founder Talks Servant Leadership

By Rachel Judy | April 28, 2011

Immediately following an appearance on the The 700 Club and sharing a message at a joint Christian Broadcasting Network/Regent University chapel service, Ron Luce, co-founder and president of Teen Mania Ministries, spoke to students and faculty from Regent University's School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship. On Tuesday, April 26, Luce shared a firsthand account of how servant leadership has played a pivotal role in the success of his ministry.

Luce told the story of how he started Teen Mania Ministries, stressing that it succeeded in spite of what he described natural lack of leadership abilities. "I was a bad leader and I didn't know it," he said of the early years.

Now, more than 20 years later, he's learned a thing or two about leadership. One of those things is the importance of approaching fundraising and the business side of ministry as part of the calling from God. "I didn't realize that you had to raise money to be in ministry," Luce said tongue-in-cheek. He quickly learned that, while fundraising was a crucial part of his ministry, how he handled the funds was also important. "[I had to ask] am I being a wise steward of whatever I have?" he said.

At first, Luce and his wife, Katie, were speaking to small groups of 10-20 teenagers gathered in a church member's living room. But, as they continued to persevere, they saw their gatherings grow exponentially. Today, millions of teens have attended their Acquire the Fire conferences and served on one of many Teen Mania-led mission trips.

As his ministry grew, Luce realized his understanding of leadership needed to grow as well. "I thought the leader was the guy who told everyone what to do," he said. "How do you get things done and serve?"

Luce has learned that being a servant first is what truly makes for great leadership. "The more you pour into [your staff] personally ... the more they'll care about what you care about," Luce said, noting that this belief has transformed how he cares for his own staff. "If they're going to invest the best years of their life with me, I'm going to invest with them."

During a question and answer session, Luce discussed his own leadership experiences and shared ideas for inspiring leadership in teens and young adults. "You don't teach them to be servant leaders. You just teach them to be servants," he said. "You'll become leaders just by laying your life down."

Teen Mania was founded in 1986. More than 25 years later, Teen Mania still declares the truth of the gospel without compromise, challenging teenagers to take a stand for Christ in their schools, communities and throughout the world. Luce holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and theology and a master's degree in counseling psychology.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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