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5 Ways to Support and Develop Young Leaders

1 May, 2018
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A healthy church values both the growth of current leaders and the development of new leaders. But this doesn’t just happen automatically; it requires intention.

However, if I’m honest, most churches we work with don’t prioritize leadership development, especially among younger generations.

Here’s the truth: giving leadership away is one of the best ways to keep pride out of your own leadership. Not only that, but developing new leaders (both volunteer and staff) is absolutely crucial to expand your ministry and impact more people for Jesus.

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However, young people are often the ones that draw the shortest straw here. As you probably know, there can be a disconnect between older and younger leaders. Different perspectives. Different ways of communicating. And the list goes on. These differences can either become a frustration, or they can be viewed as a strength. And it honestly is up to you to decide which one it’ll be in your church.  

So, as a young leader, I’d like to share 5 ways you can support and develop leaders like myself to grow in their leadership and expand the ministry at your church:

  1. Trust me. 

    This is first on the list for a reason. I get it… we’re younger and far less experienced. But we have a lot to offer. Many young people are honestly exhausted by the negative perceptions we hear about our generation, even from within the church. 

    I need to know that you trust me and want me to succeed. Even though I have areas of growth, I need to know that you trust my judgment and I need to feel empowered to lead my area of ministry, however big or small that area is. 

  2. Be honest with me.

    I want to grow and improve in my leadership, communication, etc. But I’m not always sure where my biggest areas of necessary growth are.

    I need your honest feedback given in a gracious way. And I need you to help me think through a plan for how I can address my weaker areas.

  3. Reinforce my areas of strength.

    Similar to the second point, I need you to help me recognize and reinforce my natural strengths. Your encouragement and support here is crucial for me to gain confidence in my leadership and capitalize on what I do well.

    I need you to call out what you see in me, and continually remind me of it.

  4. Value my perspective.

    As I mentioned in the first point, young people are the subject of a lot of negative perceptions. It can be frustrating for us to feel like our voice is stifled or that our perspectives are ignored.

    I need you to value the things I see that you might not. I need you to recognize that my perspective is valuable to our ministry and to your leadership.

  5. Push me further than I think I can go.

    In a recent interview with Carey Nieuwhof on developing young leaders, Brian Houston said, “If you want eagles, raise the ceiling.” I love that quote. I hope it speaks for itself, but young people are craving the opportunity to make a serious difference, and you have the opportunity to continually raise the ceiling and push us further than we think possible.

    I need you to support me, partner with me, and equip me as I continue to grow as a leader and partner with you in ministry.

What are your thoughts? How are you working to support young leaders in your church?

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Austin Savage

From Normal, IL, Austin gets that ministry can sometimes feel anything but “normal.” He grew up leading in the small church his dad pastored, and has since served on the launch teams for two church plants. He holds a Communications degree from Moody Bible Institute and is passionate about seeing churches grow healthier and make a difference in their communities.

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