We Exist to Build Leaders

This is part three of a four-part blog series on the core values of New Life Church.

 I believe that everything rises and falls because of leadership. I also believe the church should be the best place to learn real leadership, but the church has to be willing to do two things well. We must be willing to give young leaders a place at the table and we should be willing to clean up some messes.

 Most churches have older, mature leaders in all the key leadership positions but very few churches are willing to trust an emerging leader with any real responsibility.  Many churches have interns and most churches have youth pastors and worship leaders that are under 30. But often, these young leaders are not brought to the table when the key decisions are being made in the local church. They can decide some issues in their department, but their voice is seldom heard on the bigger issues of the local body.

 At New Life, there was a culture of building young leaders when I arrived and I have tried to preserve and nurture this idea. New Life had actually moved too much toward young leaders and I needed to balance the core leadership teams with some maturity. This is not the case in most churches, though. Most churches need more some 20-somethings and 30-somethings at the table when decisions are being made.

 The reason churches don’t embrace young leaders is because they cause messes. So we choose ease and comfort over the inevitable mistakes that young leaders are bound to make. Young leaders will also challenge the cultural traditions of a local fellowship and we all know that churches like change as much as cats like water.

 If the church of 2010 is to march forward and take ground in this next decade, those of us who have leadership in the local church must embrace the ideas, strategies, innovation, mistakes and messes of this next generation. I challenge pastors to bring young leaders to the table when big decisions are being made. They may not have the bid idea that saves the day, but we will have a chance a to build leaders that will one day take the baton from us.

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  1. Pouring into young leaders! Thank you for this post. Started working with a 14 girl when I was 24. I let her lead worship in “Big” Church. At 19 she enrolled at New Life. She is still there and thriving! I even saw her fulfill one of my life long dreams…going to Africa. I love you Lindsay Kelley and am so proud to have played a part in your life.

  2. Great Blog. The ‘need’ to have ‘perfect’ churches is an unrealistic expectation and often attempted by excluding the input and contribution of the next generation. While there certainly should be a desire to be all that the Lord wants our churches to be as well as the pursuit of such an endeavor, we must keep in mind mistakes do happen and life often gets is messy but this is where growth is given the opportunity to take place. By not allowing the next generation to be part of the decision making process we deny them the opportunity to learn from our mistakes as well as deny ourselves from learning by their positive input and contribution to our churches. What harm is there if we learn from our mistakes and clean up the messes? If we play it safe and exclude the next generation we risk the chance of not experiencing growth well as risk the chance of staying the ‘same old same old.’

  3. Pst Brady, Our staff team was just given permission to use this quote as the theme for our new online ministry. Thank You for posting this. I am 23 and a young worship and youth leader. I have gone thru alot being young and a female and it suprises me still how many church leaders have a problem with young people being in leadership. If no one gives us a seat at that table we will never learn.
    God Bless!

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