We've all experienced it: Someone comes up to you after the Sunday morning worship service, their face flushed with excitement. They have passion and experience for such-and-such ministry, and are ready to plug in and run with things. When can I start?
You also know the response: the rush of adrenaline, the affirmation that someone believes in the vision this much, of being energized by their enthusiasm and wanting to tap into it. When can you start?
But hold on for a minute, or a day, or even several months. Can you?
As church leaders, we are often desperate to fill the gaps in ministry. We often feel discouraged by a lack of "buy-in" or enthusiasm. We see so much that can and should be done, and we feel alone in our efforts. Then we meet someone who is so eager.
We love eager. But in our haste to embrace eager, we often forget to look for mature. And we forget the Apostle Paul's exhortation to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:22: "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands … "
I will confess, I sometimes have been too hasty to lay hands on an eager soul, to pronounce them ready and anoint them to leadership simply because I felt the ministry—no, I—needed them at that moment.
But in the end, sacrificing maturity for eagerness is never a wise move. In fact, doing so can often result in more harm than good: to your leadership credibility, to the organization, and especially to the eager party.
Leaders who are too quick to lay on hands demonstrate their own form of eagerness at the expense of maturity. Putting the immature in leadership prematurely can have long-term negative consequences, both operationally and spiritually, to the ministry and the people it serves. And too much responsibility too soon does not necessarily ...