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14 Things Older Leaders Should Know About Younger Leaders

Brad Lomenick is Executive Director and key Visionary of Catalyst, a movement of young leaders. The next Catalyst Conference takes place Oct. 3-5 (2012) in Atlanta, GA, where 13,000 young leaders will converge for the leadership experience of the year. 

A special registration rate of $219 is being made available to you (over $100 savings). To take advantage of this Exclusive offer register at www.catalystconference.com and use RATE CODE FOB. The special rate expires this week on Thursday, August 23rd, so make sure and register early! 


I love leaders. Young leaders. Older leaders. Leaders in the Church. Leaders in business. Next Generation leaders. Seasoned leaders. In all sectors.

And I’m incredibly hopeful regarding this next wave of Church leaders. Incredibly excited and hopeful and expectant. Expectant that they are going to take the reins and move things forward like no other generation before them.

And I’m incredibly grateful for the older leaders who have come before us, paving the way.

As with all generations, there are things that we can learn from each other. Younger pastors and leaders need to learn from those who’ve come before them. And older pastors and leaders need to embrace, understand, and release the next generation since they will be taking over and leading over the next 30-40 years.

So whether you are a younger 20-something leader or a seasoned 60-something leader, here are some points I hope will help you understand each other, work together, and ultimately, lead more effectively.

Younger leaders in general seem to all exhibit these qualities and characteristics as a generation:

1. Passion for God.

Everyone seems to think we’ve lost a generation of Christ followers in our country, but after seeing the 23,000 college students gathered at Passion a few weeks ago and the 20,000 + who gather at Urbana every other year and the 20,000 who were just in Kansas City for the IHOP One Thing gathering and the thousands and thousands attending Hillsong United events and Jesus Culture gatherings and, of course, the 25,000 leaders who gather at Catalyst events- this instills confidence that the next generation of leaders love Jesus and are passionate about serving Him and making Him known for their generation.

2. Willing to work together.

Twenty- and thirty-somethings are more willing to collaborate than any other generation before. They trust each other. Really. And see collaboration as the starting point, not some grandiose vision of teamwork that is far off in the distance. Collaboration is now the norm. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true- young leaders don’t care who gets the credit. For the next generation- it’s way less about WHO and way more about WHAT.

3. Generosity and sharing are the new currencies of our culture.

In business, relationships, networks, platforms, technology, distribution, content delivery, etc., open source is the new standard. This new wave of leaders has tools/resources such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, and tons more social media tools that make influencing much more readily available and easier than ever before. The currency with all of these social mediums is being generous. Sharing your ideas, sharing links, sharing friends, sharing networks. This is a complete paradigm shift from 30-40 years ago.

4. Understand the holistic responsibility of influence.

Willing to connect all of life together- faith, compassion, charity, work, career, church, family, friends. It’s all connected. There is way less compartmentalizing of life among the next generation of leaders.

5. Authenticity and humility wins.

Trust is incredibly important. Leaders won’t have followers going forward unless they trust them and see that they are authentic and real. Authenticity is not only important to the next generation; it’s a requirement. The next generation wants to follow leaders who are willing to admit that they don’t know it all.  

6. Not willing to wait.

Young leaders are ambitious and passionate about making a difference now. Not willing to wait their turn. They want to influence now. Evidence of this is the explosion of church planters in the last 4-5 years. Reality is you are never really “ready” for anything. Some say that you should wait until you are “mature” enough to pursue certain things in life. But we’re never really ready, are we? At 22, I didn’t think I was ready. At 25, I didn’t think I “knew” enough. As my friends from the UK would say…“Rubbish!”

7. See social justice as the norm.

Leaders who care about the poor and lean into causes and see the social gospel as a key ingredient to following Christ are no longer seen as the exception. Young leaders see taking care of the poor and sharing the Gospel as BOTH crucial to the advancement of the Church and of God’s Kingdom. Twenty-somethings, I believe, are and will continue to become more balanced in their pursuit of both. They don’t have to be one or the other.

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Brad Lomenick is Executive Director and key Visionary of Catalyst, a movement of young leaders. Over the last 15 years, he has built a reputation as a key networker and convener of leaders. Prior to running Catalyst, Brad was involved in the growth of the nationally acclaimed Life@Work Magazine and did management consulting with Cornerstone Group. More recently he has served in a number of roles for INJOY and now GiANT Impact. For several years after college, he rode horses for a living on a ranch in Colorado, and was even struck by lightning while installing a barbed wire fence, which some believe has given him powers equal to several of the Super Heroes. He hopes maybe someday he can be a professional golfer, or have his own hunting show.