Are Leaders Born or Made? – Amit Khaira

Monday, May 15th, 2017

“If there is no one actually following you then you are not a leader, you’re a loner,” Amit Khaira said.

“It’s all about relationship, that’s what it’s really about.”

“What is the assignment that God has destined for you?”

“How can you develop yourself and put yourself in these different positions to actually be that beacon of light in what seems to be so dark and prevalent a community around us?” Amit Khaira questioned.

‘Have we become too busy with church programs?’

Amit Khaira is a leadership developer with Youth Vision in Western Australia. Youth Vision is an arm of the Churches of Christ with a strategy to build an effective long-term youth ministry.

Young leaders are still being called and raised up, not only to lead in church but also to be equipped to win influential positions in community and government.

But have we become too busy with church programs, playing around the edges of church, and neglecting the important elements of discipleship and developing leaders?

Effective leaders often go on to become pastors and church planters. Or they play a significant role in leading departments or projects in the life of the church.

‘Are leaders born or are they made?’

Neil Johnson

Neil Johnson

This was 20Twenty host Neil Johnson’s leading question for Amit Khaira. It was a big one.

Amit agreed there are many different schools of thought behind both viewpoints, but he did admit there are certain character traits that people are born with that lend themselves to being leaders who people will follow.

“But the actual skill and the art of leadership are things that can be learned and developed as time goes on,” Amit said.

‘grandparents and great grandparents can be working alongside younger people’

Neil Johnson suggested it was the importance given to the mentoring of these potential leaders to which Amit responded to say it was a crucial component to the development of young people.

“I love the inter-generational work we see happening in our faith communities around the country.”

“In a similar setting you can have grandparents and great grandparents working alongside younger people, not just the youth, everyone has something to contribute,” Amit shared, saying the involvement of mentors and others is the reason he has the passion having had the support of like-minded people who have shaped and formed him over the years.

‘Their counsel and guidance is a privilege’

“We are only able to do what we do because we’re standing on the shoulders of giants. That’s why we can see so far ahead,” Amit declared, before uplifting  the amazing people that paved the way for his ministry at Youth Vision.

“The groundwork done by these people has made it possible for us to be effective and to link with them still for counsel and guidance is a privilege,” Amit highlighted.

‘Where do I sign up?’ Neil Johnson could be excused for thinking that, as he  failed to bridle his enthusiasm for the Churches of Christ WA having had the insight and wisdom to initiate this extremely worthwhile leadership mentoring program.

‘Young people are passionate about living out their faith’

But as Amit Khaira pointed out, it doesn’t detract from the work of Bible colleges and others active in the field whose purpose is to prepare young people for ministry leadership.

“The way that I operate is largely due to the input I’ve had from these institutions. They play a vital role, but on the same note, there’s a general understanding from what I’ve experienced that young people want to live their lives for Christ and they’re passionate about living out their faith,” Amit said.

“They translate that and ask themselves the question, will I need to go to Bible college to become a pastor?” Amit queried saying he’s concerned about this.

‘It’s not just about grooming future church leaders’

Amit said all this leadership mentoring, training and grooming shouldn’t be soley about producing church leaders as such.Image result for mentoring youth images pics

“If we’re just going to produce leaders for our faith communities I don’t think we’re going to achieve all that we’re called to.”

“There are arts and entertainment, media, government, politics and business, and all these spheres out there, but what I’m passionate about seeing are these young people identifying the way God has created them which is very unique,” Amit described.

‘It’s about identifying our uniqueness’

He said Bible colleges are not meant to be a cookie cutting factory where we all come out talking the same, Image result for cookie factory images picswearing the same clothes and carrying the same shoulder bags, the right tight jeans, that’s not what it’s about.”

Amit Khaira said it’s about identifying how we uniquely have been gifted and created. “What is the assignment that God has destined for you?”

“How can you develop yourself and put yourself in these different positions to actually be that beacon of light in what seems to be so dark and prevalent a community around us?” Amit questioned ahead of his answer.

School teachers – ‘Don’t tell me that’s not ministry!’

“What we want to be about is affirming those people. Another program I’m involved with focuses specifically on that and helping our young people change their language around ministry,” Amit stressed giving examples of his friends who are school-teachers.Image result for teachers in classroom images pics

“I would argue the case that they’re in ministry 24/7.”

“Don’t tell me that when they’re standing in front of a class looking for ways to engage with young people, and to speak words of life and affirmation, to encourage their families, and to build local communities in that city. Don’t tell me that’s not ministry!”

Neil Johnson wouldn’t dare. He agrees.

‘What are you doing in your boiler-maker factory?’

Amit said Youth Vision wants to make it clear it’s not just the person who gets up and speaks.Image result for boiler maker factory images pics

“What are you doing in your boiler-maker factory, what are you doing as a cabinet-maker, an electrician, a full-time house-mum or house-dad. Don’t tell me that’s not ministry,” Amit repeated, saying ministry is a focus and a mindset and just being aware of how God can use you.”

Amit stated that ministry is the way you view the things around you and how prepared you are to engage at that level.

But Neil Johnson made the point that churches won’t grow unless the people are available to lead the different departments and can help in the discipleship process.

‘Leaders are given the title because they’re leading others’

“They’re guiding the way forward,” Amit said. “They’re mapping out their territory, they’re the ones casting the vision and showing the example and saying, ‘this is where we want to go and these are the steps we are going to take, so come with me on this journey,” Amit voiced with fervor.Image result for workplace people relationship building images pics

“But here’s another question. If we have all these leaders then who are the ones doing the following?” Amit posed, saying what’s more important. Influence or leadership?

“But if there is no one actually following you then you are not a leader, you’re a loner.”

Amit said there’s a need to be aware of where those who are being prepared for a leadership ministry are at.

‘If people are not coming into the faith community you’re not leading anyone’

“What are the things concerning them? Their points of anxiety and frustration, in their lives, their workplaces, and what they’re doing to be effective leaders,” Amit said, saying churches might have these different ministry roles and departments.Image result for workplace people busy images pics

“But if people are not coming into the faith community you’re not going to be leading anyone.”

“The focus has to be about being a shepherd of the people. That’s the original understanding of the word pastor, that person was a curer of souls.”

Amit Khaira then summed it up in a sentence with one key word.

“It’s all about relationship, that’s what it’s really about.”


Newly appointed Youth Vision WA Leadership Developer, Amit Khaira, shares some challenging insights on mission.
He said he wanted to make sure in this first post that readers would feel uplifted and encouraged, possibly even eager for the next instalment.

These were his questions.

Have we hijacked “the mission of God” and turned it into an individualistic feel-good exercise? Are missions about “me”, or is it about the “other”? Can it be about “both”? Do we see “the other” as we see ourselves? Are we engaged in mission in our everyday or are we compartmentalising our lives further?

For further information about Amit Khaira and Youth Vision visit the website:

Also Amit Khaira’s Facebook page:



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