When I was 21 and in college my pastor found out about my call to ministry. I sensed God wanted me to change my college plans and dedicate my work life to what God would open up. My pastor created a new part time job as Children’s Minister, licensed me, and brought me onto the church staff and mentored me. I had so many chances succeed and many chances to fail. I did well sometimes and did terrible others but what happened to me was that I was able to learn as I served other people. People in my first church actually listened to me, allowed me to lead them, and encouraged me as I discovered what it meant to lead in the church. Young leaders need the chance to lead now. At Grace Community one of my hopes is to always be empowering young leaders to do ministry and learn while they serve. Yes it is messy but a young leader with someone to guide them can accomplish massive things for the Kingdom of God. They provide a viewpoint that we as older leaders (yes all of us over 30 are expereinced older leaders) lose as we age, this is the view of now, the current read on what is important. As our culture morphs and shifts it is so drastically important to listen to those who are young leaders, to empower them to give responsibility to them. In times past we delegated and commanded the people around us with the jobs that we felt needed to be accomplished as the “LEADER” Leadership today means that we actually collaborate with young leaders allowing them to shape the future of the organization now…we allow our experience and their enthusiasm to merge and we create.
I write what I am writing because it is amazing to see people limit the ability of young leaders to lead. Our churches are full of layers of PEOPLE in authority who all want to limit the control of young leaders because they might MESS SOMETHING UP – I promise they will make mistakes but why not allow them to lead, why not be a part of a young leaders journey rather than constantly tearing what they do down. Why hold up the past way of doing ministry as the best way or the only way or the so called right way. Many times I feel like traditional church leaders are only interested in making ministry closes, church clones who say the same things and live safe lives of leadership for the congregation. We would not want young leaders to stir things up or make someone mad. I can not speak for that the church as a whole needs to do. I am a part of Grace Community because I believe their might be a better way and new path that we have not thought of yet. For the little local church that I am a part of I pray that I end my ministry and look back on the lives of many men and women that I believed in and released to do ministry. I am only 31 but I have had the joy of being a part of a few staff people and interns that I love dearly and I pray they would say that I listened to them and I believed in them and I released them to become people of influence our student ministry. Sure they were always asking why questions and they were not perfect but like me when I was 22 they got a chance to do ministry and lead, and when each day was done we gave each other a high fives and went home. We collaborated, we dreamed, we had fun doing ministry. If you are a young leader pray God will help plant you with men and women who believe in you and support you. I thank God that Daryl Craft believed in me when I was 21!