I talk to pastors and leaders my age and older who want to see a new generation of leaders but either don’t know how or can’t seem to find them. Frankly, some pastors I talk with are frustrated with what they see as a lack of leadership among the newer generations.
I’m frequently asked how we have managed to find so many talented young leaders at Grace Community Church. Much of the work God has done among us has been done through the leadership efforts of people 10, 15, and 20 years younger than me. I’m not the oldest guy on staff anymore, but I’m definitely outside the mode, mean, or median average.
Here are 7 ways to raise up young leaders:
1. Give them opportunities
That sounds simple, but it’s not. Many leaders are afraid to hand off real responsibility to leaders half their age. I understand because I made some huge mistakes as a young leader, but at the same time, that’s how I learned. Younger leaders want authority and a seat at the table now, not when they reach an expected age. Is it risky? Of course, but it has the potential for awesomeness to occur.
2. Share experiences
Young leaders are open to learning from a mature leader’s successes and failures. They enjoy hearing stories of what worked and what didn’t. That’s actually one of the beauties of the newer generations. The young leaders on my team actually seek out my personal experience. They will still want the chance to learn on their own, but they are ready to glean from the wisdom of those who have gone before them, especially in the context of relationships.
3. Allow for failure
People of all ages will make mistakes in leadership, regardless of their years of experience. For some reason, that seems magnified for the younger leaders, which is one reason older leaders sometimes shy away from them. An atmosphere that embraces failure as a part of the growth process invites younger leaders to take chances, risking failure and exploring possible genius discoveries.