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10 Things We Need to Hear From Young Leaders

Learning is a two-way street.

Learning is a two-way street.

I have the privilege of spending much of my life with young church leaders. As a seminary dean and missionary trainer, I hang out with people younger than I am.

I’m the teacher, but I learn from the young generation as much as—if not more than—I teach them. Sometimes they teach me something new, as with technology and social media. In other cases, they simply remind me of something I’ve forgotten or have taken for granted.

Of course, all young church leaders have room to grow, and nothing I say here can be applied to every young leader.

With that understanding in mind, here are some of those general reminders that I, and perhaps other older leaders, need to hear from young church leaders.

1. The Bible is still our guide.

My own denomination spent several decades affirming the inerrancy and authority of the Word of God.

Today’s young church leaders were not part of that struggle, but they are the recipients of that teaching.

They may at times differ with us in interpreting and applying the Word, but it is not because they doubt the Bible’s veracity. They read it, study it, believe it and teach it with passion.

2. Christianity is intended to be life-on-life.

This generation understands that no Christian is to live in isolation. Accountability is non-negotiable. Small groups are centers of life transformation rather than only weekly fellowship gatherings.

To young leaders, calling someone “brother” or “sister” means much more than, “I’m sorry, friend, but I don’t remember your name”; it is recognition of members of the family of God.

3. Authenticity is critical.

Young church leaders have watched other leaders fall. They have been raised in a culture of political games.

For many, even their families of origin have been marked by duplicity. They want to trust other church leaders, but, frankly, they have seen too much.

Anyone whose life models authenticity will catch their attention.

4. Mentoring matters.

The most common request I hear from young church leaders is, “I want someone to mentor me. I need someone to walk with me through ministry.”

Given that Jesus and Paul discipled others primarily through mentoring, we older leaders cannot ignore this request. If we do, we share the blame if those following in our steps fail.

5. Christianity is a “doing” faith.

For my generation, Christian commitment has sometimes been limited to church attendance and monetary support, with little attention to service and ministry.

Young leaders, though, assume a “hands on” personal faith. Christianity without action is at best an incomplete faith, at worst a false one.

6. We cannot ignore social ministry.

We older leaders have often neglected social ministry, for fear we would lose our focus on evangelism.

The young generation, though, is striving to correct our omission. Their faith is a Great Commission faith (Matt. 28:18-20) that does not miss the hurting and disenfranchised (Matt. 25:31-46).

7. Church discipline is biblical.

Leaders of my generation have largely ignored church discipline.

Not so with young leaders today. They may at times lead too quickly into discipline, but they are willing to tackle this biblical responsibility. They understand that ignoring this need is neither loving nor godly.

8. The local church is the missions sending agency.

We older leaders often delegated this responsibility to other agencies and organizations.

Young church leaders recognize the church’s mandate to raise up missionaries and church planters, send them out, and then care for them while they are on the field.

The wise missions agency will invite these leaders into the conversation and seek to work alongside them.

9. Denominational loyalty must be earned.

Many in my generation have invested in a single denomination. Young leaders, though, do not share this loyalty.

We must take some responsibility for this reality, for we have not adequately convinced them of the value of cooperative work. Rather than judge them, we must hear them, teach them … and be willing to adjust if needed.

10. If faith requires death, that’s OK.

This commitment is perhaps the one that most grabs my attention.

Young church leaders are often less concerned about big church buildings and earthly recognition; they are most burdened about getting the gospel to the 1.7 billion people who have little access to the gospel. If doing that work requires moving their families to the most dangerous places in the world, they are ready to go.

That kind of faith often puts mine to shame.

What other insights have you gained from young church leaders? What else do we need to hear?  

Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on Twitter @Clawlessjr and on at facebook.com/CLawless.
 
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Publicado por em 12/05/2015 em POIMENIA

 

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Can Older Pastors Really Reach the Younger Generation?

Can Older Pastors Really Reach the Younger Generation?
Do younger people actually prefer an older pastor?

Churches mean well when we pursue strategic ways to reach out and help the church become all God wants it to be. Nevertheless, we also sometimes grab a bushel of strategies and consume them without careful discernment. When we do so, we risk a goose chase that can take the church off-track for years.

Great churches typically share similar traits. They have a “big God.”Community is strong. Worship is vibrant and genuine. They have a clear sense of purpose and aren’t easily distracted. Churches that try to grow share a common impulse toward strategic fads. These fads can be recognized if one steps back and simply thinks of the lack of substance they share. However, I continue to hear how much these things matter from churches all over. In my experience and that of my colleagues in healthy, growing churches…they don’t.

We begin with this one: “Older pastors can’t reach young people.”

Hogwash. Balderdash. Poppycock. Bologna.

These days, when people say “older,” they unfortunately refer to anyone over about 45. I turned 36 a couple of months ago and have had conversations with people at New Vintage about the potential imminent demise of my ability to reach young families. I am in my mid-thirties with a 9, 7, and 1 year-old daughter. When I was 33 and Emily was 30, I was informed I was in a completely different generation than a couple that was 29 and 26 respectively, though our children were the same age. That couple needed to be in a different small group with people “their age” I was told. Give me a break.

Here’s what I’ve found…younger people often prefer an older pastor. When I say “older,” I’m referring to someone 45 and up, probably even in their fifties. The reason–they feel the person has experienced enough of life that they can teach them something. The minister is their parent’s age–but isn’t their parent.

Many of the churches that reach the most young people have pastors well into their fifties. Think about these churches with HUGE numbers of college/singles attendees who effectively plug them into ministry.

  • North Point Community Church – Andy Stanley (53)
  • Fellowship Church – Ed Young, Jr.(50)
  • Harvest Christian Fellowship – Greg Laurie (59)
  • North Coast Church – Larry Osborne (I don’t remember Larry’s age, but he’s late fifties)
  • Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa – Chuck Smith (84) – and the churches he’s helped start are among the best at this.
  • Saddleback Church – Rick Warren (57)

Now, some will say, “Yes, but those are some of the most gifted pastors and incredible churches in America.”

Exactly.

A far bigger indicator of your ability to attract and involve younger people over time will be kind of church you are…not the age of the pastor.

Of course, there are some things that will help. The pastor’s age can be a very small one. If the church is completely old, putting a younger minister in there can help build a critical mass of youth in the pews–and such churches really need to find a way to put some younger people in public ministry roles to convey welcome and inclusion. Also true: left to itself, the church will drift toward looking like the people on stage over time. Nevertheless, reaching younger people for Christ is far more nuanced and complicated than that. If you’re not reaching them now, it isn’t about the age of the minister. It’s far more likely he’s not effective in general, the elders don’t want to change, the church doesn’t care about reaching young people, etc.

If you really want to learn how to reach young people, PLEASE do so. We need to do all that we possibly can. Just know it’s a substantial missional undertaking…not a matter of plug-and-playing a younger model in the pulpit. In fact, if you’re older, you might be even better equipped to reach them than you’ve ever dreamed. It’ll take intentionality, but it’s completely possible if your church is willing to do what it takes.

What difference do you think the minister’s age makes?  

Tim SpiveyDr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California–a fast-growing plant launched in 2011. Tim is also the purveyor of New Vintage Leadership – a blog offering cutting edge insights on leadership and theology and the author of numerous articles and one book: Jesus, the Powerful Servant.More from Tim Spivey or visit Tim at newvintageleadership.com/

Source: CHURCH LEADERS

 
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Publicado por em 10/03/2012 em POIMENIA

 

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