How Angela Ahrendts Is Leading Me In Youth Ministry Part 1

Youth Specialties
April 29th, 2014

Brooklyn Lindsey is a long time youth worker and friend of YS. So we're excited to share her post with you. We've broken it into 2 parts with the second half coming in 2 weeks, but for now, dig in and be encouraged. 

Want to get to know the woman behind your Apple products? I did. I wanted to get to know her and thanks to a story featured in Fast Company, I was able to do just that—in a small way at least. Maybe someday, I'll get to go to her office with her because I'd really love that. But for now, I'm just really happy someone listened to her story and wrote it down for us.

Her name is Angela. She's one of the most polished, tenacious, creative, and well respected VP's on the planet. I love that she's a wife, a mother, a thought leader, and an entrepreneur and I think we have a lot to learn from her—and her 20 billion dollar company.

I first became acquainted with Angela Ahrendts through an article that I mentioned in Fast Company magazine. It took me a few days to get through the article because it seemed at every paragraph there was something for me personally. Something I needed to dwell on and discover (or recover in some cases) in my own leadership style. I had to sleep on it and mull it over. I think this particular magazine holds the record for “longest time spent in my tote.”

Angela recently transitioned from CEO at Burberry, a place that she brought to life with experiential shopping experiences and viral social media campaigns, to Apple who, from the start, had fallen in love with her collaborative spirit.

There’s a word.

I want to pause there.
Can we be more collaborative in our leadership?
I want to think so.
I also have failed at this before.
I have tried to get a job done in my own strength.
That’s pride.
That’s a mistake.
It’s just flat out stupid.
That’s the “I can get this done faster if I just do it myself” mentality that will cripple the creativity and longevity of my ministry and of yours too.

So, we need to get a grip on that.

There are things that Angela does that we can learn from and try to do better in our roles as advocates for the love of Christ in our world.

I want to show you a side-by-side. What her choices look like for her companies (Vice-President perspective) and what those same choices could look like for our ministries (Youth Pastor perspective).

Vice-President Quality #1

Compassion. Humility. It's saying “thank you.”

Fast Company tells the story of a compassionate leader who doesn't shy away from a genuine care and concern for others. Angela acknowledges when others do things that benefit the company or other people around them. She is a mirror, becoming compassion and reflecting it too.

Youth Pastor Quality #1

Compassion. Humility. Saying “thank you.”

This way of life and leadership is not only possible for us—but is desired of us. When ministry chaos increases, we can be tempted to forget acknowledging those who help us, those who serve us, and those who need us. We have the greatest opportunity in our own homes, in our offices, and with our volunteers and lay leadership.

Vice-President Quality #2

Angela is a conversationalist who listens more than she speaks.

Youth Pastor Quality #2

It may seem hard to do this, especially if you're the main communicator in your ministry. But with a little effort, this reality can switch.

The more we listen, the more we will understand. 


As we understand, we will feel more compassion. Compassion and passion are tied together—if we are truly “suffering with” or having empathy for or walking in solidarity with those around us, nothing will stop us in our creativity to connect, create, and lead well.

Vice-President Quality #3

The VP of Retail Stores at Apple asks lots of questions. She puts herself in other people's positions. She listens.

Youth Pastor Quality #3

The youth pastor waits. Observes. Listens. The focus shifts to others. She puts herself in other people's positions. She listens and listens and feels what's happening. Then she leads the way.

Vice-President Quality #4

She believes empathy is one of the greatest creators of energy. There is a knowledge that this kind of creator of energy will feel counterintuitive because it's selfless.

Youth Pastor Quality #4

He puts self to the side daily. He understands that it may not feel natural to empathize because it's a learned behavior, a replacement done by the work of the Holy Spirit—so youth leaders ask for help and we look for ways to create energy with genuine empathetic responses.

Vice-President Quality #5

VP's take an Alice In Wonderland class in college. Joking. But you might think it. Angela is a curious leader. She asks, “Why are we doing this?” “What is new?” “What would this look like if we didn't have limitations?”

Youth Pastor Quality #5

Youth leaders become curious and curiouser. We walk into rooms, into planning, into conversations with eyes wide open. We are the great question askers. We imagine what could be as we ask “Why?” and “Why not?” What would lives look like if we made this change? Or took this risk? Or said no to some things? Or said yes to some big things? The greatest question of my undergrad career, posed by my friend and professor Rick Ryding was, “Why do you do what you do when you do it?” And we have to keep asking that question.

TO BE CONTINUED… Don't worry, we'll get to the other 5 very soon. In the meantime, keep loving your students well. 

Brooklyn is a youth pastor, writer, and communicator who lives in Florida with her husband and daughters. You can learn more about her ministry, resources, events, and connect socially on her website. www.brooklynlindsey.com

Youth Specialties

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.