Emilie Knauss : My Leadership Pathway

I just kept saying yes.

While still in high school, I kept getting opportunities for leadership and activities in my home church. I just kept saying yes, which eventually landed me in the position of being the “go-to” worship leader on Sunday mornings. I was completely in over my head, but there were some great people there challenging and encouraging me to go for it.

Since I was born and raised in the Nazarene Church, it seemed like a stretch for my next step to be a part-time role at a large Lutheran church. But my Sophomore year, I said yes again, to the opportunity of leading in the youth group and at the Saturday night prayer service. I was stretched and challenged, especially in my worship leadership and things of the spirit.

The biggest step came in the spring of my Sophomore year, when I was offered a residency at a church eight hours away. I remember sitting in a staff member’s office at my college and telling him I really didn’t want to do this. I wanted to stay close to home. I knew this was no small step, but I eventually realized it was the right next step I needed to take to keep moving forward, so I did it.

And sometimes a step forward looks just like staying put, which is where I am now. I’ve been told more than once that one of the best things a young leader can do is stay in an internship for longer than a year. So even though I was a little homesick and still wondering if this was the place for me, I eventually came to the decision that God was asking me to stay right where I was. I’m glad I did, because I was soon offered a role on staff in small groups and worship, even before graduating.

I’m excited. I continue to be in over my head; I’ve had the opportunity to preach at weekend services, which is nuts. I never would have dreamed the Lord would have led me on this path when I first began, but I’m so grateful to all those people who kept pushing and leading me along the way. Maybe it’s not so important that you know the destination, so long as you know what your next small, smart step should be.

I’m Emilie Knauss, and this is my leadership pathway.


StoriesDave Miller