I was stoked to attend the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA this year with a bunch of my friends. For the most part, I only hit one conference a year and every year, I choose Catalyst.
Why Catalyst? Because they’re about raising and resourcing young leaders. As a young leader myself, I am most engaged when I know the older generation is cheering us on. We need that encouragement and partnership from seasoned leaders, because it’s time for guys like me to step up to the plate and start swinging. I love what Andy Stanley said a couple years ago at Catalyst 2008:
The next generation ideas will be birthed from the students in your student ministry. Senior pastors, fuel what’s happening in the student ministry. If you’re 45 years old or older, you’re not gonna have a good idea. Your job is to recognize a good idea, and to clear out some space and margin and allow the younger leaders to run with it. And when you get the emails, be the one to take the bullet. Listen . . . don’t do unto the next generation what was done to you.
I can’t say that I agree with him that those 45 years or older aren’t going to have a good idea but I see his point. According to his definition, I, as a 27-year old, am part of the generation who will take the torch when the previous generation steps down. This is so exciting yet daunting at the same time. I have dreams about what it’s going to be like to be on the executive leadership team for a growing church one day.
But young leaders, BEWARE! We have a tendency to want to take things over prematurely. We have to remember that honor and respect operate on the same two-way street as they do for seasoned leaders. If we truly desire a partnership, let’s make an effort to connect with the older generation to cultivate a true team.
Check out these three practical ways to cultivate an inter-generational team mindset: