By Dermot Cottuli
I’ve been wondering of late if the manner in which we motivate and equip young leaders actually sets them up for trouble later on in life and ministry? The leadership recruitment technique that’s been so effective over the past 20 or so years has revolved around teaching our young people that God has a dream and a plan for their lives. It sounds exciting and there’s definitely some truth in it but the hook that we’ve used is self. It’s all about MY dream, MY vision, MY call. One of the problems with self is that it’s never satisfied. So when our young people reach their middle years they can feel that God and the church has let them down because quite often life isn’t as rosy as they were hoping it would be and the expectations they had for their future may not have eventuated the way they planned. Who then get’s the blame? Quite often it’s God and the Church. It’s understandable but it’s not true.
So what’s the alterative?
We still need to give our young people something great to live for and there’s nothing greater to live for than God’s dream – His cause and purpose on the earth. Inviting young people to live for God’s dream takes their focus off themselves and places it firmly on Jesus and His agenda and this is where it starts to get really healthy. You see Jesus’ plan for the earth as expressed through the church, has been unfolding for the past 2000 years. It’s not a case of make or break during our lifetime. In other words faithfulness and doing good become the measuring stick for a fruitful life, not numbers or position or being better than everyone else or any of the other things we’re all so quickly drawn towards when trying to prove our value and worth.
When we live for God’s plan and God’s dream we find our purpose and life direction without self fulfilment being our guiding light.
So how do we equip young, up and coming leaders?
- Captivate them with God’s dream for the world and invite them to participate in it. Teach them to wrap their life around God’s plan and watch how much purpose and passion is released in their life.
(The cause of the King – that none should perish.)
- Teach right from the start what a disciple is and continue to exhort them, in every way we can, to become obedient to Jesus’ two commands, to love God and love others as He’s loved them.
- Model the lifestyle you want to inculcate into your leaders
- Confront self in a loving and gentle manner but do it, don’t let it slide. What you ignore you allow, what you allow you promote. When self rears it’s persistent head, address it.