This post is written by Tyler Tatum who serves as our Fuse Director here at NewSpring Church. Tyler is an INCREDIBLE leader and does a great job of teaching, challenging and encouraging other young leaders around him. This is some advice he recommends for helping to raise up young leaders.)
One of my favorite parts of getting to do ministry is the opportunity to see young people realize and step into God’s plans for their lives. Year after year we get to see students make life decisions not based on how much money they will make or what kind of status they might attain. Yet these decision are based off of a calling that God has placed in their lives; whether that is in the context of school, the work force or the church. Often that calling results in young people stepping into leadership roles. I have had the privilege of seeing young leader after young leader step into the calling that God has placed in their lives.
There is nothing more exciting than seeing a young leader begin to realize the potential that God has placed in them, and nothing more heartbreaking than seeing them discouraged or shipwrecked. Over the years, I have learned some guiding principles when it comes to raising up these leaders. Here are just a few of the key principles I’ve learned when it comes to helping young people step into leadership and to help them avoid shipwreck in their leadership journey.
1. Identify God-given gifting and potential
Often when it comes to young people, there is nothing more powerful than the words that we share with them. We have the ability to inspire, challenge, build up and tear down. Years ago, I realized that my words began to carry a lot of weight when it came to the young leaders that were around me. I could use my words to try to get people around me to work on a project, or rally to a certain cause. I even had influence over the decisions they made in regards to where they would serve or lead in the church.
I quickly learned that the only way to truly set someone on the path of success (which every leader should be trying to do) was to use my words not to try to lead them to what I thought they should do or to serve me, but to try to encourage them to follow what Jesus is calling them to do. I believe that as leaders, God often will give us insight into how he has gifted the young people around us and that is why we have to make sure that we are first and foremost listening to Him. I have found that when I am spending time with Jesus on a regular basis, I am more likely to see people like He sees people, and therefore I am able to see God-given potential to speak into them. Trying to use our words to persuade young people to do what we want them to do or what makes the most sense in the worldly way of looking at things is a recipe for disaster in their leadership journey.
It is a powerful thing when we can see the gifts and purpose God has placed inside of a young person and as we begin to speak that into them. This is why our relationship with Jesus is foundational in our ability to raise up those around us. We cannot lead someone to a place that we are not going ourselves. We cannot truly love and place young people in front of ourselves if we are not hearing from Jesus on a regular basis.