I have met so many great young men and women who are already good leaders. They show way more ability than I did at their age.
When I say “Next-Generation” leaders, I am saying that there are young leaders who are already leaders now. They will probably be leading the way for all of us in the Body of Christ, when this current generation of older leaders, will mainly be encouragers and mentors.
There are young men and women who have potential.
Some are ‘in training’ – interns, volunteers or Bible students.
Young leaders should be asking, “What should I do now that will help me for the future?”
My ‘fatherly’ and pastoral advice is:
1. Be faithful with the opportunity that is before you.
The key to reaching the will of God in the long-term is being faithful with the opportunity that is before you today. Period.
It may not be the perfect situation in your mind but it IS in God’s mind because it’s the opportunity He has put in front of you.
“You want to be a leader? Perfect. Here is an opportunity in front of you. Show us what you got.”
Today’s steps, lead you to tomorrow’s destination.
When Jesus taught, “be faithful with the little things” – what do you think He meant?
The little things could be, attitude, words, things that your leader thinks is important but you don’t think is so important. It could be small insignificant jobs.
Actors say, “There are no small parts, their are only small actors.” I like the point that they are trying to make. But the truth is – “There ARE small parts.” That’s how you discover ‘small-minded’ actors. That’s how you discover small-minded team members.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10 NIV
2. Be faithful with what belongs to another
How you handle someone else’s ministry is crucial. Serve your leader.
Your goal is that ‘they’ shine. When serving another, “their win” is the important thing. You are not to suppose to change what they do or change them so that you can look good. Help them reach their goals.
As a pastor, I’m paying someone to solve problems. I can get new problems for free. I can have new problems just by waking up in the morning. Please don’t be the problem for your current leader. That is a major ‘fail’.
We all want to hear “Well done good and faithful servant…”
It’s important that we understand: “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”
Only then will we experience, “Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Imagine the deep sense of frustration that Paul felt that caused him to write,
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:19-21 NIV
Your current position is the proving ground for your ‘one and only life.’ Don’t mess it up! Don’t mess with someone else’s ministry or organization.
3. Make your transitions with honor & grace
Leave a situation or ministry better when you transition out, than it was when you got there.
Be honest but be graceful.
If you can’t be 100% honest with everyone in the congregation about your true feelings – get used to it, there is more of that ahead. I’m not suggesting you need to be dishonest or deceptive. But don’t sacrifice the congregation’s well being on the altar of self-indulgence or misguided self-righteousness.
Be graceful and honoring. Trust me, that is what you will want when you are in leader’s chair. Don’t just disappear. That creates suspicion and damage.
It’s easy to transition gracefully. Ask your leader,
“What is the best way to transition out of this role?”
“What is the best timing?”
Things may be awkward but,
“I want to be honoring to you and your position.”
Don’t act like an adolescent in an argument and storm out of the room slamming the door behind you.
Young leader, don’t be like the woman in 1 Kings 3, who rolled over in the night and smothered her baby.
She said to King Solomon, “Cut that baby in half. I want my part.” How weird is that?
“Split this congregation in half! I deserve my part.” Really?
You will discover that leaders are human. They all make mistakes. Leaders have strengths AND weaknesses. They have normal flaws like everyone. Don’t let your leader’s humanity allow you to get bitter and resentful.
Trust God to sort out your leaders personality flaws.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:17-21 NIV
The Apostle Paul’s advice to his ‘son in the faith’ was,
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:15-16 NIV
Be diligent – give yourself wholly to wisdom.
Watch your life closely.
Watch your doctrine closely.
Persevere in these matters.
Your life and other’s lives are at stake.