We all know the feeling. It’s something you’ve been meaning to get around to for a while, but it just never happened. Maybe the whole concept of taking someone “under your wing” seems pretentious, or maybe there’s a little bit of fear of the unknown. Whatever your struggle, we’ve got some advice for you.
Mentoring new leadership is an essential part of the pastorate. We’re here to help you finally get started.
Stop thinking of it as an obligation, and start thinking of it as a way of showing God’s grace to others. Jesus was always pointing his men to others—"Look at the fields, they are ripe for harvest" (John 4:35); "I will make you fishers of men" (Matt 4:19 ESV).
Those born after about 1965 grew up in a culture remarkably different from their parents. During this time major advancements in technology changed the ways people experienced virtually every aspect of life. As a result they see, understand, and engage the world differently than previous generations. They are the product of a culture dominated by the Internet, global connections, high-speed communication, and endless information. Ideas and methods preferred by their parents and grandparents appear cumbersome and even strange to this group. They want mentors but have completely different expectations for how that relationship will look.
Instead, too many fear failure and remain tucked inside a safe zone they create. That's a recipe for average effort that yields mediocre results. Any leader can instill confidence in those they are mentoring.
More than a single sermon or a word of wisdom, the mentors of these nine influential pastors displayed lives of committed discipleship and dedication to their calling.
Sometimes you have to let them walk away. Jesus did not go after everyone, and neither can we.
Whether sharing the leadership load, tapping unlikely leaders, or affirming people's potential to lead, there are many ways to empower lay leaders. After all, staff members of the church can't do it all. Nor should we try. The body functions best when all its members are working.
Strong leadership is not enough to create healthy ministries: handing over the mantle to new leaders must also be a part of ministry development. Leaders must create a system to reproduce and train other leaders to perpetuate the ministry. This theme teaches leaders how to pass along what they have learned to others.