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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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10 Ways to Spot Your Own Arrogance

Use these potential markers of arrogance to avoid such a fall.

Use these potential markers of arrogance to avoid such a fall.

I’m writing this post for me as much as for anyone. In the past months, I’ve re-read Jim Collins’ How the Mighty Fall and Tim Irwin’s Derailed. Both of these gripping studies review the process of decline in leaders and organizations, especially in leaders who perhaps once thought themselves invincible.

These studies challenge me because I know I’m prideful. I also know that “pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18, HCSB).

With me, use these potential markers of arrogance to avoid such a fall.

Marker #1: You believe few people are as smart as you are.

Not many people actually say these words, but honest leaders must admit they sometimes think this way.

Some reveal this thinking by their ridicule of anybody else “not quite up to my level.” Others assume they should be part of almost every discussion, regardless of the topic.

If you assume few people can teach you anything, that assumption should cause you to evaluate your heart.

Marker #2: Your first reaction to negative is to be defensive or to cast blame on others.

If anything adverse (e.g., a lack of growth in the organization, a divided leadership team, a failed program) is always somebody else’s fault, you might see yourself as above such declines.

In Jim Collins’ words, you may join falling leaders who explain away negative data and “blame external factors for setbacks rather than accept responsibility.”[i] 

Marker #3: Titles matter to you.

Check your signature line on your email. Look at your company’s letterhead and website. Read the bio you send to others who have invited you to speak.

Consider your reaction when someone introduces you without noting your title. Think about how you introduce yourself. If your title has become your first name, you’ve crossed the line.

Marker #4: You assume your organization cannot fail.

The bottom line for you is this: Your organization cannot fail because you don’t fail. You are intelligent enough to figure out the solutions.

Your track record is so filled with successes that failure is unimaginable. And, even if your organization struggles, you can simply replace your co-workers; after all, you are convinced that finding people who want to work for you will not be difficult.

Marker #5: Not knowing “insider information” bothers you.

Arrogance is characterized not only by a belief that we know almost everything, but also by a desire to know the “scoop” before others do. The most important people, we think, deserve to have the details first.

If you get frustrated when you’re not in the information’s inner circle, you may well be dealing with arrogance.

Marker #6: You are disconnected from your team members.

Developing genuine relationships with employees is difficult as an organization grows.

If, however, you see your team members more as cogs in a system than as valuable partners—or worse yet, if they perceive that you view them that way—you may be haughtily operating as “a steam engine attempting to pull the rest of the train without being attached to it.”[ii] 

Marker #7: Spiritual disciplines are secondary, if not nonexistent, in your life.

Disciplines like Bible study, prayer and fasting are more than simple Christian practices; they are obedient actions of persons who recognize their need for a strong relationship with God.

If you are leading externally without spending time with God privately, you are leading in your own strength.

That’s sin.

Marker #8: No one has permission to speak truth into your life.

Leaders who fall are often not accountable to anyone. Few of us are fully self-aware, and all of us deal with a heart that is “more deceitful than anything else” (Jer. 17:9).

Feedback is critical, particularly from those who can test whether we exhibit the fruit of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26). If no one plays this role in your life, your lack of accountability is likely evidence of pride.

Marker #9: Other people see you as arrogant.

Take a risk—ask others what they really think about you. Talk to the people who report to you. Interview those who formerly worked with you but then took other positions.

Be specific in asking, “Do I ever come across as arrogant?” Even the most emotional (and perhaps exaggerated) responses likely reveal some level of truth. Hear it.

Marker #10: This post bothers you … or doesn’t bother you.  

If these words bother you, you may be coming face-to-face with reality in your life.

If they don’t bother you, you may be failing to see the arrogance that characterizes all of us.

My own arrogance haunts me as I write these words. Please pray for me.

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 30/04/2015 em POIMENIA

 

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