Illinois Baptist 06 20 2016 E Edition Page 2

few days ago I saw a brief news story about a dance class for ive- and six-year-olds, where the instructor had invited the little girls to wear costumes at their next rehearsal. She dubbed it Princess Day, knowing how many of her tiny dancers would enjoy dancing as princesses, and also how many of them already had princess costumes. What helped the story go viral and hit the headlines, however, was the photo of seven little girls in princess cos- tumes standing with one very unique little girl, dressed in a hot dog costume. Five-year-old Ainsley chose to come to Princess Day not with a tiara on her head, but with a stripe of mustard down her front. One of the many captions and tweets that circulated with the photo simply read, In a world of princesses, dare to be a hot dog. There are so many things that encourage me about this story. First, there is the individuality, confidence, and boldness of the little girl. Many times I have found myself wanting, even needing, to be the hot dog in a group of princesses. I had a minority opinion, or a different point of view, or simply knew that the direction of the group was not right. It's just easier to con- form than to stand alone. Then there was the dad who encouraged little Ainsley. He later tweeted, No parent is ready to learn that their daughter is trendingBest part is it was all her idea! The courage and con- idence to be different, and the empow- erment to act on that difference, often comes from those closest to us. But for me, the most encouraging character in this little real-life drama was dance teacher Sarah, who was sud- denly placed in the position of leading a group with a non-conformist. Sarah could have taken offense at the little girl who didnt follow instructions or appar- ently respect her position as teacher. She could have sent her home, or em- barrassed her in front of the class, or not included her in the dance or the picture. Instead, this good-natured teacher embraced the little hot dogs unique- ness, accepted both her and her cos- tume into the group, and proudly took the picture that ended up making her class famous. In doing so, Sarah challenged me as a leader. And I think she should challenge all of us who lead as pastors, Sunday school teachers, and minis- try leaders. As hard as it is to be the hot dog in a group of princesses, it may be even harder to effectively lead a group of presumed princesses when a hot dog shows up. That hot dog may be the deacon with an outreach idea that would take a church outside its comfort zone. It may be the sincere new believer in a Sunday school class who asks questions that don't have tidy or pat answers. It may be the church member who presses an uncomfortable budget issue in a business meeting, when it would be easier to just vote yes and go home. A confident, secure leader embraces multiple points of view and even minority opinions as ways to potentially make the final decision or outcome even better. An insecure leader wants only quick, compliant agreement. After the picture became famous, teacher Sarah revealed that Ainsley was actually wearing a princess costume underneath her hot dog costume. Ainsley explained that she was still a princess on the inside. I found that to be an extra encouragement. When we're patient and accepting of hot dogs, even on Princess Days, we often find that deep down they want to dance too. And God may even use them, or you or me, to make the dance more famous. Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org. Princesses and Hot Dogs NATE ADAMS 2 IBSA.org Illinois Baptist Snapshots from the world of Illinois Baptists the cooperative program Giving by IBSA churches as of 06/10/16 $2,718,202 Budget Goal: $2,786,539 Received to date in 2015: $2,749,135 2016 Goal: $6.3 Million For questions about subscriptions, articles, or upcoming events, contact the Illinois Baptist at (217) 391-3119 or IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org . The Illinois Baptist is seeking news from IBSA churches. E-mail us at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org to tell us about special events and new ministry staff. POSTMASTER: The Illinois Baptist is owned and published every three weeks by the Illinois Baptist State Association, 3085 Stevenson Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62703-4440. Subscriptions are free to Illinois Baptists. Subscribe online at IBSA.org . CONVENTIONAL WISDOM You'd think the generation that invented the term adulting' would do better at it. But it turns out that living with your parents is actually now the norm for millennials-especially guys." - RelevantMagazine.com Stay-at-home kids Commitment issues Its not just that young people arent getting married, Pew reports. Many are forgoing partners altogether. For the first time, the largest share of adults age 18-34 are living at home with their parents (including 35% of men in the age bracket). The Illinois Baptist staff Editor - Eric Reed Graphic Designer - Kris Kell Contributing Editor - Lisa Sergent Editorial Contributor - Meredith Flynn Living in parents' home - Pew Research, May 2016 3 +1+4+2 A 14% 32.1% Married or cohabitating in own household Living alone, single parents, and other household heads Share of 18- to 34-year-olds married or cohabitating in own household: Other living arrangement 31.6% 22% 1880 1940 1960 2014 45% 62% 31.6% HOT DIGGITY - A lesson in leadership from a bold five-year-old.

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