Some time back I was a resource person to a group of young leaders who were discussing what leader development should look like today. After two days of discussion, they decided to craft this “call to seasoned ministry leaders,” expressing their aspirations and needs. I think it should be taken very seriously. There are a lot of empty and mechanical forms of “leadership development.” This expression is personal and substantive.
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A Call to Seasoned Ministry Leaders
As the next wave of rising North American leaders, we are thirsty for mentoring from leaders who have gone before us, as well as for committed friendships and peer-companions in our lives and work.
Many in our generation feel tragically isolated in our leadership. We have received incredible training and are well equipped, in practical terms, for the tasks ahead. However, the times of instruction, equipping in ministry skills and opportunities to bring influence are not the most meaningful moments in our development as leaders. Instead, we have been most marked when men or women, further ahead on the journey, have come alongside us to listen and offer wisdom and thoughtful guidance. When someone takes more interest in who we are rather than just what we are doing, we begin to thrive, both as followers and ambassadors of Christ. We need those who will walk with us— not just in curricula or structured programs, but in long-term, personal relationships. We need mentors and peers with whom we can be vulnerable and honest.
As emerging Christian leaders in the Church across North America, we want you to know that we need you. You have a great deal to offer us, and without your guidance, partnership and investment, we will miss out on so much that we need. If you do not already walk with leaders in our generation, please seek those around you who are under 40 and in places of influence, and invite a few into meaningful relationship. We need wisdom as we respond to God in our own lives and in the ministries entrusted to us. We know that passion and giftedness are not enough; we cannot do this alone. Similarly, we hope to walk with those in the generation following ours.
Leighton Ford, Honorary Life Chairman of Lausanne, wonderfully captures the spirit and importance of these kinds of mentoring relationships: “Leaders in missions and evangelism need safe places, safe times, and safe people to help them grow spiritually and be fruitful over the long run” (from the booklet, The Mentoring Community of Leighton Ford Ministries).
Our plea is that you consider intentionally developing deep relationships with this new generation of leaders.
- Listen to us
- Pray with us
- Walk with us
- Share with us
- Dream with us
Will you please identify and gather a group of these younger leaders, and regularly commit your time to encourage, support, and journey with them? The future of the Church and her impact on the world relies upon these committed, personal relationships between your generation and ours, and ours with the next.
For the sake of Christ,
The Lausanne North American Younger Leaders Network
*This call was written as a response to a consultation convened by the Lausanne Movement in Madison, WI in July of 2012, where 120 younger Christian leaders and 10 mentors from across North America gathered to discuss a number of issues facing the Church today. One of consultation’s 10 sub-groups, “Developing Christ-Centered Leaders,” spearheaded this document on mentorship.