Today is for those leading the next generation: every pastor, intern director, ministry lead out there. You have a great privilege and responsibility to lead and train them well!
Something I don't want to come across in this series is that we should limit Millenials potential and not give them opportunities. We very much should give them opportunity! But it's important to make sure that platform is last and only given once they have demonstrated patient endurance, the ability to implement guardrails, and genuine servant leadership.
Here's a quick recap of these three vital lessons for leadership:
Patience: When we wait, we begin to acquire a patient endurance that only waiting can produce. It will be this patience that carries you through the rough patches of ministry. It will give you a perseverance through the lonely, heavy-hearted, and weighted moments no one sees but God.
Guardrails: Before taking on leadership or platform in a church, young people need to first learn to establish guardrails. It will be this vital key that protects them from their own moral failure and losses along the way. Like I mentioned in a previous week, no pastor sets out to fail which is why this principal is so important. Do what you must, even if it's inconvenient, to protect yourself from sin.
Servant Leadership: I know you don't go into ministry excited to clean the bathroom or pick-up trash, or to stop and sit with the homeless person who enters your church doors, or stuff envelopes and enter contact info into a database. But truth is, that's ministry just as much as anything on the platform. Unless you can do those items with joy and thanksgiving then you shouldn't be preaching or leading worship.
As a leader training leaders, you have such a large responsibility to train them well. Some things that will be very important for you as you do this will be the following ideas:
Provide Coaching Along the Way: When teaching the above principles it's important to provide coaching along the way. I'm reminded of those moments children are disciplined; we don't just punish them and walk away. We take those moments as coaching lessons to train them up well. In the same way, if you ask these next generation leaders to serve but don't take moments to explain the importance of what they're doing, what value it brings to them and the church, and how they can become a better leader as a result, they'll be missing a very important lesson along the way.
Model What You Teach: Few things will be more valuable to these young people than you modeling what you are teaching them. It will go a long way if they see you picking up trash next to them after an event. Or see you sitting down with someone in need after you walk off the stage. We are never above what we ask others to do.
Be Intentional About Their Opportunities: It can be easy to give interns or students all the jobs no one else wants to do without being intentional about allowing them to grow. It's ok to give them these jobs as it creates opportunity to learn about servant leadership but it also shouldn't be about giving them the bottom of the barrel because it's easy for you or your team. As they model servant leadership and patience in these moments, be intentional about giving them bigger projects and allowing them to spread their wings where they are gifted. Training and coaching takes being intentional, so don't take the easy way out.
I hope for all the leaders out there training the next generation that you'll be wise and intentional about the responsibility you have. Furthermore, enjoy the ride! What a privilege to train up the next generation that will continue to build the local church.
Whether you're a next gen or a pastor, or somewhere in between, embrace these principles in your pursuit of the dreams placed inside of you and you'll be in a much better place as God advances your calling.