I remember the first time I attended a National Youth Worker's Convention, very early in my ministry career. There I was like a very small fish in a huge ocean: Hundreds of career Youth Pastors with years of experience sitting and learning from some of the best ministers in the country.
My eyes were wide, my ears were open, and my intimidation factor was in the "red" (being intimidated, not being an intimidator). As a result, I pretty much kept to myself because I didn't want anyone to know I was young youth minister with barely three years of experience. At the conclusion of the afternoon session on the final day of the five-day conference, I was randomly invited to eat dinner by the guy who happened to be sitting next to me.
I reluctantly agreed (he mentioned an Ethiopian restaurant three blocks from the conference hotel), and when I met him in the hotel lobby to take the short walk to the restaurant, he was there... along with six other people he was friends with. My intimidation factor red-lined again: Not only was I among seasoned youth pastors, but I was going to have to talk to them and let them know that I don't know very much.
My, how I was wrong. The people in the group were kind, encouraging, and nonjudgmental. They were interested in me, and didn't try to be interesting to me. They listened, they laughed at themselves, and I learned a lot about relationships, encouragement, mentoring, and the need to be mentored... And about youth ministry.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has on one to help them up.
It is important that we value relationships: Let us seek to be interested in others, rather than interesting to others. Let us seek out those who need encouragement. Let us seek to mentor those who are open to input into their lives. Let us be open to input into our lives by mentors.
Let us not waste our relationships on things that don't really matter. Let us invest in people, and allow people to invest in us. Let us... Lead Well!