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5 Strategies to Reach the Next Gen at Your Church

Strategy #3: Succession

The big question with succession is whether or not it’s intentional. Unfortunately, most are not. Usually, a beloved senior pastor retires too late (for an ideal transition) and fails to raise up leadership through an empowered process. But we are seeing more and more successful transitions. For example, I’m working with a pastor in his mid 50s who is young-at-heart and very energetic. He is handing his point role to a guy (over 15 years younger) after an 18-month succession plan. This church has and will continue to reach young people.

Strategy #4: Sending

Some ministries will only reach young people by sending their best young leaders into different ministry initiatives or geographic locations. The difficulty here is that these young people don’t stay “at home” to work on the generational needs of the sending group. Nevertheless, it is a legitimate way to invest resources into the next generation, even if it means accepting with grace the necessary decline and death of ministry. Last week, I talked with a development leader of a national parachurch ministry. The ministry’s founder is making the difficult decision to discontinue its existence. Practically, this will disperse all of the younger leaders into different roles and ministry vehicles.

Strategy #5: Stopping

I debated whether to include this fifth strategy. I did because it is a decision that some churches make. And they must know it is a decision. If a church doesn’t segment, share, plan for succession, or send with younger leaders, it will stop reaching young people.

Which strategy are you using?

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Will Mancini emerged from the trenches of local church leadership to found Auxano, a first-of-kind consulting ministry that focuses on vision clarity. As a “clarity evangelist,” Will has served as vision architect for hundreds of churches across the country, including such notable pastors as Chuck Swindoll and Max Lucado. Will holds a Th.M. in Pastoral Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary and has authored Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement; he also co-authored Building Leaders with Aubrey Malphurs.