1. Influence by your character and not your position.
The next generation does not care that you are a pastor. There was a time when being a pastor was noble, prestigious, and desirable. This generation does not even want to enter vocational ministry because of the abuse they have seen among pastors. Abuse done to pastors and abuse done by pastors.
2. Lead your church or organization from the middle.
I use a phrase in our church by saying: “I lead this church from the middle”. This means that I try and lead our people as someone who needs the same things they need. I need the gospel and community just like all of them. I need grace, forgiveness, and hope just like them. Leading from the middle means you will lead from the front and sometimes you will lead from the back- unnoticed. You have to live in the tension of being a disciple of Jesus first and a pastor or leader second.
3. Collaborate instead of isolate.
This will be a hard one for most leaders. The next generation wants to be included. They want to be valued and seen as people that have a voice. This means we need to have many voices at the table. You need to identify emerging leaders and give them a voice from small tasks, assignments, and ministries- to leading in larger capacities.
4. Be intentional about leadership development.
This might be the most important insight I am learning. You need a intentional plan to develop the next generation. We think that leaders will emerge, be developed, and lead the next generation organically. While that can happen at times- in reality, you need a plan in place. If you are a pastor and/or leader of any kind leadership development has to be part of your work each week. You have to spend time with emerging and current leaders. At our church we do a church-based theological training center and internship program.
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Great advice from Ryan Pelton, the pastor of New City Church in Kansas City, MO: