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9 THINGS PASTORS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DEVELOPING YOUNG LEADERS

09 Dec

Mentoring Matters

By Brian Dodd

“It’s no surprise that Texas is producing athletic innovation.  You’ve seen a similar spirit of innovation in Texas’s business world…It’s a place where thinking differently is valued and produces results.” – Jay Greene, Department of Education Reform, Arkansas University

As pastors and Christian leaders we are constantly focused on raising up the next generation of leaders.  Much like Texas athletics, we need different thinking to produce better results.

Recently I was reading a September 30th Sports Illustrated article on the incredible results being produced by the Texas high school football 7-on-7 tournaments. For example, this past weekend an astonishing 10 NFL starting quarterbacks came from those programs.

While lacking the “spiritual” element, I found the techniques used by Texas coaches to develop quarterbacks extremely applicable to Christian environments hoping to develop young leaders.

The following are 9 Things Pastors Should Know About Developing Young Leaders gleaned from these incredibly productive Texas high school football programs:

  1. Young Leaders Must Be Allowed To Make Mistakes – In addition to allowing quarterbacks time to develop, Texas high school quarterbacks are also given the ability to improvise and make mistakes.

  2. Young Leaders Should Be Given Significant Responsibility – Too often Christian leaders do not recognize the potential of their young people.  We give them volunteer responsibilities which do not stretch or challenge them.  This approach does not prepare them for the challenges adult Christian leaders face.  Detroit Lions qb Matt Stafford said, “We throw (the football) so much (in high school), it’s not a big deal when we get to the next level.”

  3. Young Leaders Will Innovate Out Of Necessity – Baylor head coach Art Briles created his innovative offensive system while coaching football at Stephenville High School.  The teams he faced were bigger, stronger, and faster.  He says, “I was just trying to figure out something each year.  We were having trouble with bigger players, and we started spreading the field to counter that.  We kept developing it from there.”

  4. Young Leaders Should Be Exposed To More Experienced Leaders Early And Often – Churches who develop young Christian leaders are focused on discipleship.  They prioritize getting younger leaders into the orbits and under the influence of successful, more experienced leaders.  Texas high school coaches are constantly bringing in NFL defensive coaches to better prepare their quarterbacks.

  5. Young Leaders Will Thrive In Flexible Environments – Texas high school coaches are flexible and humble.  They adjust their offensive game plans around the skills of their quarterbacks rather than making the quarterbacks adjust.  Church leaders need to recognize the incredible story God wants to tell through the lives of young people and adjust their ministries, programming and systems accordingly.

  6. Young Leaders Are Resilient – Coach Briles says, “What you’re looking for (in a quarterback) is a mentality.  A guy who won’t back down.”

  7. Young Leaders Focus On What They Can Do.  Not What They Can’t – Houston Texans qb Case Keenum says, “A lot of people told me what I couldn’t do.  I was too short, didn’t have this, didn’t have that.  But I always believed in myself.  You cannot let other people tell you what you can do.”

  8. Young Leaders Will Respect More Experienced Leaders – It is flawed thinking to assume young people lack respect.  Some do.  Many do not.  Christian leaders should make honoring a church’s past part of the discipleship process.  Keenum goes on, “One thing all of us have in common, we realize how important it is to play quarterback in Texas.  From a young age, we’re taught to respect the game.”

  9. Young Leaders Need Guidelines Rather Than Rules –  Writer Andrew Perloff deducted that a “competitive spirit and lax regulation provide a fertile ground for creativity and excellence.”

What additional practices are you doing as Christian leaders to develop young leaders?

SOURCE: http://www.briandoddonleadership.com/2013/12/04/9-things-pastors-should-know-about-developing-young-leaders/

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