There is a serious relationship gap that has always separated the generations in our churches. Between the “whose worship songs are the best?” arguments, and the “why don’t they value me more?” thoughts on everyone’s minds, we have a real issue that needs our attention. My focus for this blog is to try and offer helpful thoughts to any “older” (no disrespect!) leaders out there who want to know what the younger leaders around them are thinking and how they can cultivate a healthy relationship with them.
Before I get into this, I want to point out that this situation isn’t beyond repair. I deeply believe that Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father, AND ALSO to each other. All of heaven is backing us up in our efforts to honor generations outside our own because our God is interested in unity among his children. For this reason Jesus himself prayed, “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” (John 17:23). I hope this blog stirs your heart to help be part of the answer to Jesus' prayer.
More Open Than You Think
The young leaders around you are more open to your investment than you may think. As a young leader myself, I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to have an older leader show interest in me or encourage my leadership. It may be hard to see it because the young leaders around you feel pressure to measure up. They’re not sure they are allowed to fail, so they try really hard not to admit it.
These young leaders likely joined your team because of YOU. And they keep hanging around because of two primary reasons. First, they seriously believe God wants to do something powerful through them (and I am sure you believe this too!). Second, they felt like the environment you have created with your leadership is going to give them at least a good shot at reaching their potential. Recently my friend and boss, Doug Cowburn, talked with our staff at Elim Gospel Church about teams and culture. He shared a statement that has stayed with me:
“People join your team because of vision, but they stay because of culture.” | Doug Cowburn
I think one major leadership “sin” we commit is working hard to attract people to our teams, but not working nearly as hard giving them reasons to stay. So I ask you:
- Are you working on vision AND culture?
- How have you been intentional about making sure your environment is helping young leaders around you feel valued?
- Do you have a culture that young leaders thrive in?
I challenge you to spend even 5% of your week considering these questions, and I know you will LOVE the results.
I recently read that most companies spend on average around 50% of their budgets on wages and salaries for employees, but only 1% on training. Churches are not exempt from this statistic. This is a gap everyone can feel. Young leaders want to be invested in, not just hired.
Investment Trumps Delegation
Young leaders know the difference between investment and delegation. True delegation is more than just sharing work. If you think you are investing in a young leader because you gave them the part of your job that you liked the least, you’re missing it. My lead pastor, and friend, Joshua Finley says it best:
“If you delegate tasks you create followers. If you delegate authority you create leaders.” | Joshua Finley
How are you delegating authority, not just tasks? In what ways are you choosing to give some of your authority away to a young leader around you? I challenge you to take some of these questions I have presented to your church staff, eldership, or board.
I hope I have helped you, not hurt you. My goal is is to equip you, not point a finger at your flaws. We need to turn our hearts toward each other, and I deeply believe that when we do we will show the world around us something they cannot resist. I will be writing two more parts in this blog. Stay tuned by subscribing below.
Standing with you for your success.