A Maasai Moran grows in an age set, that means that at an appropriate time, everyone in that set, will have to upgrade to young adults, and how you do that is by being released into the jungle to face the lion. The leaders know what it takes to kill a lion, and they are willing to risk the lives of these young ones if only the tradition and the pride of the Maasai is to go on. It should be so with our apprentices and residents. We need to empower intentionally and risk with young leaders.
Planting a church is not for everyone, just like going to fight Goliath or killing lions was not for everyone. As I travel, I come across many people who want to plant churches. Let me make it clear, planting and leading are two different things. I recently sat down with a pastor who’s in his late sixties and he encouraged me when he said it is fine to identify yourself as a planter, and the earlier you learn to let others risk the sooner you will appreciate the rest in leading a church.
One thing you never hear from the Maasai is that not everyone kills the lion, most of the time it is one or two, but because the whole group was involved, they take pride in the hunt. As they elevate one to be their leader.
Now we are 4 years old at the church that I lead, we soon learned that based on our desire to reach and help many fall in love with Jesus, we will be called so many times to kill lions. For a church planter, slaying a lion is probably a thing we do every day, but for those, we lead with, our volunteers and residents, it is probably a realm we need to invite them into. The term young leader is relative, it means younger in age and also younger in experience in some cases. As I lead my team of younger leaders I have often asked myself when did I become all of these and I agree it takes time but it also takes people who risked with us.
If you want to become a great fisherman, you will learn to float. My experience coupled with conversations with many leaders is that we fear what will or will not happen if we risked more with younger leaders. These leaders are your Timothy and your Titus’. Paul never writes regretting releasing Timothy and Titus to leadership.
I have isolated some reasons why we do not release younger leaders:
- Master Builder: You are super careful. You feel that you have a set of gifts they don’t have and you carry the attitude that I have built all this and it can come down in a day in some else’s hands. Because of this, you only entrust to them, things you wouldn’t do.
- Confidence: We do not trust or have no confidence in our leadership and training; we still feel that to be mature they must be more than us. But when they are more than us they are a threat most of the time. We still feel that the training they need is somewhere apart from home.
- Calm Seas; we have finally made everything comfortable, we have ceased to walk on water and no longer call people to walk on water. The calm seas of our leadership are actually seasons of drought and unfruitfulness. That’s to say we are not risking enough and so do not see the need of others doing so. For example for a church that has church planting within its vision, lack of residents is a clear sign that you are not yet willing to allow others to walk on the waters.
You can only rightfully come alongside someone and correct them when you had your name and fame on the line by giving them the freedom to do more. The beauty of the kingdom is that the Holy Spirit comes alongside us and in many of those instances, many people who risked find themselves walking on water. It is not recorded, not even once that Paul or Jesus regretted releasing the leaders under them to do more. I bet you will not regret it either.
May you empower intentionally and risk with young leaders!