Guide the Next Generation of Leaders
Discipleship is a big part of a pastor’s role. You are called to raise up and launch leaders. What are some practical steps pastors and leaders can take to develop leaders? How do they know what it is time to send them out into the harvest field?
Leadership is a part of your legacy.
Whether it is leadership within your family or the church or mission field, your leadership has a lasting impact. Discipleship is one of the core pillars for a leadership legacy within the Kingdom of God.
Leadership discipleship is investing in the next generation of spiritual leaders. Invest in the men and women God has called and impart the lessons and wisdom you have learned.
Take, for example, Moses passing the leadership baton to Joshua:
“Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: “I am now a hundred and twenty years old, and I am no longer able to lead you…Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’” Deuteronomy 31:1-2, 7-8 NIV
Like Moses, all leaders have a point in their leadership where it is time to invest and disciple the next generation of leadership.
There are three ways to invest in the next generation of leaders:
Teach them to be self-aware.
Being self-aware is an essential skill to have as a leader. Self-awareness brings humility and understanding. A self-aware leader knows their strengths and their weaknesses. This kind of leader can commune with God on a deeper level, allowing Him to perfect them in weaknesses. These leaders can learn and grow into the men and women God has called them to be.
Prayer is the best way to become self-aware. Having an open relationship with God allows for Him to prune us while we abide in Him. Alongside our dynamic relationship with God, personality tests, strengths tests, and spiritual gifting tests are excellent in helping give verbiage to what a leader is good at and where there are potential weak spots.
Cast Vision Repeatedly.
Another way to develop and disciple leaders is to cast vision continuously. Continuous is the keyword; to truly take root and have a lasting impact, a vision must be constantly communicated. Developing and investing in the next generation of leadership requires casting vision to them repeatedly. If they are your culture carriers, the ones who will continue to live out your mission and vision, then the vision must be communicated regularly, so they have total clarity.
One of the best ways to help solidify vision casting is to host an off-site leadership retreat to dream and talk through vision casting for the future. Typically, the lead pastors call for this kind of retreat and invite key staff and board members to participate. During this retreat, vision is discussed at length, and leadership training occurs to carry the vision moving forward. Typically, off-sites are held twice a year to once a quarter.
Invest in your team and your upcoming leaders by planning an off-site.
Challenge and Mentor Them
While this might be the most common approach to discipleship for upcoming leaders, mentoring is still one of the best ways to disciple the next generation of leaders. As a leader, you will want to push your mentees’ limits and inspire them to step up to the plate, regardless of where they are leading. Mentorships can look like many different things, but the critical point is to meet and teach leadership principles regularly. This can be working through a book or meeting to discuss specific life scenarios and how to handle them.
However you see fit, and as the Holy Spirit leads, take a couple of upcoming leaders under your wing and invest in them.
A residency program is a structured program within a church to take on new ministry leaders for a limited time to help them gain ministry leadership experience under the tutelage of experienced ministry leaders. While many churches structure their residency programs differently, the core mission of a residency is to invest in the next generation of ministry leaders.
Residency programs include training in:
• Leadership skill training
• Spiritual growth and development
• Ministry administration training
• Conflict management skills
Ministry holds a lot of different scenarios, both good and challenging. A residency program creates space for you as a leader (and many others) to invest in the knowledge you already know and pass it on to another up-and-coming leader. The lessons a ministry resident learns will carry with them for the rest of their ministry career.
Be strong and courageous
As with Moses, there is a time to pass the leadership baton to the next generation. As the leader, you are tasked with investing and equipping those who will grow to stand on your shoulders. Training the next generation of ministry leaders will be a part of your legacy.
I would challenge you to take some time and think through how you will intentionally invest in the next generation of ministry leaders. Your experience is needed, and your influence is what the next generation will stand upon.
First published on StartChurch.com. Used by permission.