For a long time, I was the young leader. I took my first role on a church staff just before I turned 19. When I moved to Cincinnati to serve as student pastor, I flew into the airport and was too young to rent a car. I moved to Miami to serve as executive pastor of Christ Fellowship when I was 27. All the while, godly leaders believed in me and trusted me. They invested in me, allowed experiences to teach me and mold me, and kept challenging and encouraging me. I am eternally grateful.
By God’s grace, I hope to do the same for others. There are many younger leaders in ministries and organizations that are ready to be believed in and trusted with significant responsibilities. They are hungry to be encouraged, developed and challenged. Here are four reasons to believe in young leaders:
1. The Future
Young leaders are the future, and leaders are responsible for future leadership. A leader who is not developing young leaders for the future is not serving the organization well. The leader is either being shortsighted or selfish—shortsighted in that the future is not being considered, or selfish in that the leader thinks only about himself/herself.
2. New Thinking
Not only are young leaders the future, but they also carry with them great ideas, energy and passion. Young leaders want to contribute in this season, not just the future. They often possess new thinking. They believe they can do what others feel is impossible. They have not had the life beaten out of them.
Years ago, I heard Rick Warren say, and I am paraphrasing, “I have the same ideas now that I had when I was 25, but no one listened to me then. So I am asking: What 25-year-old should I be listening to?” There are younger leaders in every organization who could be leveraged now.