“When a movement develops around a dominant personality,” wrote J. Oswald Sanders, “the real test of the quality of his leadership is the manner in which that work survives the crisis of his removal.… If he is to discharge his trust fully he will devote time to training younger men to succeed and perhaps even supersede him” (Spiritual Leadership, rev. ed. [Chicago: Moody Press, 1980], 210, 217).
When I read this quote this morning, it struck a cord with me. I have been asking the question of my ministry and the legacy that I will leave to the next generation. In the evaluation of my life and ministry can I say that I am doing what is possible to enable the next generation the opportunity to fulfill their call and change the world or am I standing in the way of their opportunity?
In order to be an effective leader, we must vigilant and purposeful in passing on the reigns of leadership to the next generation of world changers. Moses had to hand over the leadership of Israel to Joshua, David made sure that Solomon was set up for leadership and greatness in the kingdom. Even Jesus spent his earthly ministry, training the men who would carry the mantel of spiritual leadership beyond His earthly life. The disciples then, would be enablers of future church leaders such a Paul who passed his ministry on to Timothy.
This same pattern as been duplicated for the most part, throughout the history of the church. To pass on to the next generation, the torch of leadership so that the effectiveness of the ministry would continue to have life and vitality. The pattern of mentorship, enabling, and releasing the next generation into leadership must be a priority in the church of today.
I realize that in my life, I have a short window of opportunity to be able to make a difference in the world. The Bible calls my life “a vapor,” it’s here today and gone tomorrow. Therefore, if I am going to make a difference that surpasses my lifespan, I will have to make an investment that pays dividends beyond my years. The only viable way of doing that, is to pour into the life of the next generation and help them become the leaders God intended for them to be.
Someday, I am going to have to leave my place of position in order to pass on to the next generation leader the opportunity to make their mark in ministry. It will be my responsibility to not overextend my stay and limit the opportunity of the next generation leader. It will also be my responsibility to champion, celebrate and support them with a sincere heart.
How can this be accomplished? Here are a few suggestions.
- By listening and learning their passions and desires. Then finding out how you could help them fulfill those passions and desires.
- By opening up opportunities for them to lead. This gives them valuable experience in making decisions and developing skills that they will need to lead effectively.
- By building relationship and intentionally developing mentorship opportunities.
What are some additional ways that we can champion the next generation? Let me know! I would love to hear your insight!
Champion the next generation leader and see your legacy extend well beyond your life!