Throughout the beginning of my journey in pastoral ministry I was blessed to have older, godly men in my life. These men came alongside me and listened to me, prayed with me and taught me from God’s Word. They were friends as well as teachers.
I am thankful to God for these people. But I must tell you that I did not seek out these relationships; these men came to me. They sought me out and let me know they wanted to invest in my life.
If we are truly going to reclaim a generation of young leaders we must go to them. We must reach out to them and be sure they understand that we want to know them.
They need to know we value them as an equal in Christian ministry. It’s about truly investing in their lives. If something doesn’t change we’re going to be in trouble in the near future. If you look around your church this Sunday many of you will notice more older adults in attendance than younger adults.
Although we have made great progress in recent years involving younger leaders in our state convention’s annual meeting, we still have much room for improvement.
I do not believe the reason younger leaders are not more involved is because they do not care. I believe they do care, and care a great deal, about advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ here and around the world. Yes, I recognize that some of their methods and ideas do not always match my preferences and opinions, but that does not necessarily mean they are wrong. There are many good things we can learn from them. Must we remind ourselves that Jesus was around 30 years of age when He began His earthly ministry? The traditional church leaders of that day thought His belief system was very radical.
The problem is, we do not always do the job we should in helping the younger generation of Christ followers understand our vision and purpose. Young leaders want to invest their time in what they believe is really important – in what is eternal.
They want to be involved in outreach that is focused on the gospel. They want to be involved and invest, but they must be convinced that it’s all for Kingdom purposes.
Our future depends on engaging young leaders. Our state is full of passionate, young leaders who love Jesus and His church.
This year I encourage you to bring a younger leader with you to our annual meeting Nov. 7-8. But please, do more than that. Please listen to them and get to know them. Yes, you can teach them some things. They can also teach you many things. They can bring a fresh perspective and renewed passion that many of us so desperately need. Invest your life in them as an investment in our future as Baptists.
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
(This item is part of a package about reclaiming the younger generation of church leaders. The Biblical Recorder is focusing on the Seven Pillars for Christian Ministry adopted by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. For more stories on the younger generation of leaders or to find out about the entire package, please visit here.)