As the pastor of a young church, I get to interact with a lot of young people, many of whom dream of doing something significant with their lives. To quote the late Steve Jobs, they long to make a dent in the universe. They want their life to matter. I love getting to spend time with young people who aren’t content to settle for the status quo and who long to make a difference. That said, there are some things I’ve noticed that are common to aspiring young leaders that often get in the way of them actually seeing those dreams realized.
So here are a few pieces of advice I have for aspiring young leaders:
1. Learn to follow.
There is a special place in my heart for skeptics. You know who they are, right? Skeptics are the ones who are always questioning things. They are always asking questions like, Is this really true? Is that really what happened? Can that leader or organization really be trusted? Are their motives really what they say? Where is the fine print? When is the bait and switch coming, really?
While there may have been a time when skepticism was largely pushed to the cultural margins, that time has long passed. Churches and their leaders no longer get the benefit of the doubt. Instead, doubt is alive and well. Skepticism has become a staple in the increasingly post-Christian West. Sadly, however, many churches continue to go on with business as usual. And many of them continue to shrink and die as a result.
I have the privilege of leading a church that has consistently reached skeptics in the four short years of our existence. What we’ve done is not innovative, but it has been intentional. Here are five things you can do to more effectively reach skeptics:
It’s been several weeks since I’ve sat down and written anything. You could say I have been on somewhat of a hiatus since my last article.
When I wrote “5 Really Bad Reasons To Leave Your Church” I had no idea the article would reach as far as it did. It was originally written to the relatively small contingent of people who read my still very new personal site. I was more than a little unprepared for what was to come when Relevant Magazine, On Faith and numerous smaller sites picked up the article.
There may not be a more important quality to your leadership than authenticity, and I’ll tell you why:
This generation has a finely tuned “BS Detector.” They are scarily adept at being able to discern what is authentic and what is not. If you’re putting them on, they’ll pick up on it. If you’re not smoking what you’re selling, they’ll sense that too. The fishy smell carries for miles. And believe me, they’re smelling for it. They’ve been put on and let down one too many times.
For leaders and influencers this means the posturing, the pretending, the constant cropping and editing has got to stop.