Words of Advice for Young Church Leaders

Last week, a friend asked me what general advice I would give to young church leaders. I’m sure this list is not complete, but here’s a start.

Adore the church. The apostle Paul thanked God for the Corinthians and expressed his deep love for them (1 Cor. 1:4, 16:24) – all the while saying to them, “You’re an absolute mess.”  That mess is still God’s church. Love them….Be accountable to somebody. Seek an older leader to pour into your life – and don’t give up until you find that person. Give permission to ask about your Bible study, your prayer life, your godliness, and your evangelism.

  1. Always be a learner. Degrees don’t signal an end to learning. The world keeps changing, and none of us knows everything. An unwillingness to learn is intellectual arrogance.
  2. Learn the stories of your people. Everybody has a story, including that church member who frustrates you. Learn to ask about those stories. Listen well. Show genuine interest in the people God has placed in your care.
  3. Love the grandparents in your church. Sure, maybe they don’t like change – but you probably won’t either when you reach their age. You need their life wisdom today.
  4. Love the children in your church. From their early preschool years, children will choose their heroes. Be one of them.
  5. Be patient. Follow Jesus’ lead as He made disciples – teach, listen, re-direct as needed, teach again . . . and trust the Father to change your congregation. Impatient church leadership is usually discouraged leadership.
  6. Laugh. A lot. Today, the situation you face may seem unbearable. I assure you, though, that some of today’s events will be comical in the future. Learn to laugh today with godly joy.
  7. Invest in at least three people. Lead your whole congregation, but pour yourself into at least three people – a non-believer you’re trying to reach, a new believer you’re equipping, and an older believer you’re encouraging.
  8. As much as possible, don’t do ministry alone. Train somebody as you counsel, visit, and evangelize. Involving somebody else takes more time, but your congregation will be stronger in the long run.

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