In a lot of my work with groups recently, I’ve noticed that one of the challenges is that a church or a movement is built on people from one generation. Then that generation gets older and there’s a gap. They’re not seeing new leaders from the next generation.
I see this all the time with immigrant churches that have trouble raising up leaders from the 1.5 and/or 2.0 generation. But I’m also seeing it in church cultures. If we are not deliberate and intentional in raising up people from younger generations, it doesn’t happen.
If we are deliberate and intentional about raising up leaders from younger generations, one of the most common problems is this: we think about how to integrate these new leaders into our already-existing systems. But that doesn’t allow enough space for the full expression of the leadership gifts of these new leaders. Instead we need to launch something new to give them the wings to fly.
It’s a symbiotic relationship. One man on the mission field—a grandfather who works primarily with people in their 20s and 30s—puts it like this: “Young people NEED old people. What’s really interesting though is that I need you just as much as you need me. You keep me young. You keep me sane. Sure I have the knowledge and the wisdom, but seeing you benefit from it- THAT’S what makes my job worth it.”
We need to think multi-generationally in the leadership development process… apprentices that raise up apprentices that raise up apprentices across multiple generations. That benefits all the generations.