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Today I am posting a guest post from Caitlin Little. Caitlin is one of the sharpest young female leaders I have met in a long time and I have the honor of having her serve as the Small Group Director in our student ministry at Grace Community Church. You can follow Caitlin on twitter at @caitlinteal. Check out this amazing post on the power of the first 20 seconds when we communicate…

One of the coolest, craziest things I get to do is teach students about Jesus. We have 2 student services on Wednesday nights & all day long leading up to 6:30 pm I’m counting down. No matter how many times I speak, I’m always a nervous wreck up until the second I step onstage. There’s usually about 20 seconds of a bump video that plays while I stand by a podium, open my Bible, & take 1 last sip of water.

Despite my almost crippling nerves, those 20 seconds before I start to speak are what keep me writing sermons, keep me rewording sentences to find the most clear way of communicating, & what keeps me intentionally following Jesus. Because in those 20 seconds, I always look out at the crowd & more often than not, over half the girls in the room aren’t watching the bump video- they’re watching me.

If I happen to meet a girl’s eyes, a smile instantly spreads across both our faces & my nerves begin to drain. In a quick glance around the room, my eyes meet girls wanting to be led. I catch a glimpse of girls hopeful and passionate and encouraged to see someone who looks like them standing on a platform, leading.

They’re watching to see what I’m doing before I’m “on”; if I’m nervously biting my nails, how I’m holding myself. Because for many of them, this is the first time they’ve seen a girl lead in this way- and that fact hits me hard.

Here’s the thing, I’m not an incredible speaker who commands the room. I’m just a broken girl who chose to surrender to God’s plan even though I was doubtful. But through the doubt, God graciously chose to orchestrate some seemingly impossible circumstances; and now I have the privilege of getting up in front of a roomful of girls each week & serving as a visual reminder that they, too, can lead in big ways.

And that’s really all I want to do. I want to point girls to Jesus and remind them that we were created for so much more than that which we often settle. We’re made for a life marked by blinding, courageous steps of faith; for a passionate, consuming pursuit of Jesus; and the radical, tenacious love of a Savior.

Fortunately, I get an almost dizzying reminder of that truth every Wednesday. It comes in the form of smiling faces beaming back at me for those brief 20 seconds before I even open my mouth to speak.