If you want to stack the deck for the immediate outcome, you likely won’t be able to grow up the next generation. Bringing up the next generation will include allowing them to stretch and even to fail without punitive reaction. If you’re not bringing them along to invest in them, then you might as well not bring them along to start with.
I recently led a men’s ministry event which was staffed by volunteers. The volunteers ranged in ages from 23 to 53 with varying responsibilities and abilities. The common core that glued the team together was evident when there was an invitation into worship. The men, no matter their age, entered into worship of the King with identical passion and intention.
A few of the youngest guys were great to have around, even if their abilities and maybe even effort weren’t as obvious as if they had more seasoning. This is a different generation with unique strengths and weaknesses. They won’t do it like you did it so what are you willing to do to bridge the gap with them?
When things were delegated to these younger men, they required some prodding to get it done and some follow-up to ensure that it was done correctly. Their attitudes were great, even if their intensity was questionable. One of the leaders got a little frustrated and was about ready to deal with them harshly when I reminded him that investing in them is part of the deal. If we’re going to meet our obligation to raise up those that follow, we’ll have to remember some things as we go:
- Fathers raise sons. This requires a father’s heart.
- They can’t do the same things older team members can. Don’t expect the same results.
- Give slices of bread, not the whole loaf. This is a process that takes years; don’t rush it.
- Share of yourself with transparency . . . not only past mistakes, but present problems.
- There is a great possibility that the mature “product” of your investment will serve someone other than you.
- Bringing up sons doesn’t mean promoting them prematurely. That will crush them in the long run.
- Be under authority as you exercise authority. Submission and honor are critical and you can’t give away what you don’t display.
- It’s shoulder to shoulder inclusion of the younger from which they can learn service and submission while being exposed to Truth and maturity played out practically.
- Delegate at appropriate levels of readiness and check their work as you encourage, encourage, encourage.
- Resist the urge and even their desires for premature promotion. It’s a trap.