Saturday, July 16, 2011

Values for Young Church Leaders (Part 5): Timothys need Pauls

My 27th birthday is quickly approaching in September. That's puts me squarely in my late-20s, and one step closer to being 30. I know, I know, that's not very old at all. Which is my point. There are hundreds of leaders in the church between the ages of 18 and 30 still figuring out how to lead well. I was thrust into my first full-time ministry role at the ripe old age of 21, which forced me to learn ton.

I certainly haven't arrived, but I've got enough scars and calluses along the way to share some values young church leaders need to embrace. This next week, I'll unpack 5 of these values.

Value #5: Timothys need Pauls

(Yeah, I'm not sure what the plural of "Timothy" is either.)

Timothy was a young church leader who was discipled by Paul. It was like a father-son relationship, one where Paul poured his heart and soul into the younger man. It's not that Timothy was alone in figuring out his faith; his mother seemed to have been a significant part of that process. But Timothy went from being a regular follower of Jesus to a guy who possibly wrote Scripture alongside Paul (2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon all have Timothy alongside Paul in the opening greeting).

Find a mentor. This needs to be someone who will be your advocate, who will celebrate your victories while holding you accountable for your mistakes. The best mentors are sounding-boards, i.e. people who will carefully listen and ask good questions before offering any unsolicited advice, but also have a depth of wisdom to mine from. Be picky; don't just choose anyone older than you. Pursue someone who you can trust, who will be available and committed to regularly meeting with you, and who has a relationship with the Lord worth emulating.

Be a mentor. Not only be mentored, but pursue mentoring relationships with those less mature than you. Note that I didn't say "younger." You could mentor/disciple a peer or someone older, as long as your own faith journey has progressed further. One of the best ways to learn and grow is to have the responsibility of spiritually investing into another life. It requires you to live out the previous four values (teachability, building character, failing well, and pacing for the long-term).

Which of these five leadership values has most resonated with you? Any pushback or feedback? Share in the comments below!

This is part 5 of a week-long series on young church leaders. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here.

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