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8 Words of Encouragement for Young Leaders

Ron Edmondson

I love investing in the next generation of leaders. They are our future. I think we have an obligation to share our experiences and help them learn from our mistakes. This is a huge purpose of this blog.

Most of the ones I invest in these days are younger pastors – or those who want to be some day. I love it. It’s honestly what fuels me most.

With this in mind, I occasionally like to share some principles and practices of leadership I’ve learned along the way. I’ve written more to pastors and ministry leaders in other posts – and more about keeping your relationship with Christ first and foremost – these are more general thoughts.

Here are 8 words of encouragement for young leaders:

Become an early risk taker.

It’s seems more difficult the older we get to take bold moves. I hope I keep doing so. I look at Moses and Abraham as examples, but I know the meaning of “comfort zone” now more than ever. Develop into your personal DNA early you will always be willing to walk by faith.

Learn to enjoy and be content in today.

Don’t concentrate so much on the next level of achievement you miss the lessons of today or never experience joy in the journey. God is doing something now – today – even as you wait for the next great thing. Looking in reverse – today will probably seem more valuable in your development than you can imagine now. And, every season of life is like this.

Manage your time wisely.

It passes quickly and you don’t want to regret too many missed opportunities – or too many avoidable mistakes. Grace is amazing, but there are moments in life you only have access to once. Then there are those really dumb things we do we wish we hadn’t. If your long-term goals and objectives for life scream this will be a decision you will regret – don’t do it!

Be inventive.

We need innovation in leadership. Take us places you see in your dreams, where God is calling you, but we can’t seem to find our way there. It will be hard, there will be resistance, but there’s a value in youth and leadership. We need you and your unique contribution.

Find the right people to influence you.

Don’t allow the negative words in your life to crowd out the positives. Concentrate more on what God is calling you to do than the naysayer’s personal agendas. You’ll struggle with this all your life, so the sooner you discipline yourself the better. Just like Elijah, you probably have more supporters than you think you have. Complainers simply have larger vocal chords. Hang around positive-minded people – people you trust and who trust you – then let them speak into the deepest and darkest places of your life to help you continually mature as a person and leader.

Live in stored up praise.

You’ll seldom know the good you are doing. Keep going even when the cheering crowds are silent. Find your affirmation in God and His truth spoken to you. Know who believes in you! Know your self-worth is not found in your performance, but in your unique design by your Creator. You have value to this world!

Keep growing personally.

Spend as much time on personal development as you do trying to develop others. Read THIS POST for an explanation, but basically you will need all the strength you can muster to lead well. Stand strong. Learn. Read. Develop. Find a mentor. Be a mentor.

Keep pride and arrogance in check.

This is huge. Never believe you’ve finally “arrived”. As soon as you do – you’re living in dangerousness territory. You will always need people to speak into your life. Be wise about whom you listen to, but always be teachable. There will never be a time you don’t have something to learn. I hate to admit it, but I was in my 40’s before I really began to know how much I didn’t know.

By the way, all of this wisdom is just as true for my stage of life, but somehow I feel if we can catch leaders early they may avoid some of the mistakes I have made. I love your generation for its teachable spirit. Keep going! You’re doing great!

What words of wisdom do you have for the younger leader?

Help! I Am Not a Cheerful Giver

Art Rainer

Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Recently, I spoke with a guy who struggled with this verse. He was a Christian. And he gave to his local church. But he admitted that his giving wasn’t always cheerful. He didn’t give begrudgingly. It just wasn’t cheerful.

In this moment of transparency, he asked what he could do to become a cheerful giver. He wanted to become the type of giver 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us we should be.

This guy is not alone. Many others find themselves asking this very question. So how does one experience joy in their giving? How can they become a cheerful giver?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Pray for your heart to be aligned with God’s heart. Spend some time asking God to posture your heart toward giving in the same way that His heart is postured. Pray that what makes Him happy will make you happy as well. Pray for alignment.
  2. Pray that God will show you the impact of your giving. Ask Him to reveal the difference your giving makes. Pray that He will show you how He uses the resources you release to make an eternal difference.
  3. Focus on mission, not money. When you give, consider the Kingdom-advancing mission that you are a part of. Your giving is much more than a transfer of money from one bank account to the next. It is an act of war. God will use your money to push back the darkness in this world.
  4. Consider how open-handedness transforms momentary into eternal. You frequently regret past purchases. You rarely regret past generosity. Why? When you give, you move money from momentary impact to eternal impact.
  5. Focus more on what they don’t have. When you focus on others’ needs (as opposed to your own wants), you realize that your giving can make a real difference in your community and the world. You become less concerned about yourself and more concerned about others.
  6. Consider a different way to give. I give online, and, most of the time, I encourage others to do the same. However, if you give online yet feel detached from God’s mission, try giving during a service. In-person giving may help you feel a greater connection to the church and the impact it is making.

God wants us to be a cheerful giver. If you find yourself in a giving funk, consider these six suggestions. Reignite a passion in your heart for financially supporting the advancement of God’s Kingdom.

20 Life and Leadership Lessons I Learned From Reggie Joiner

Carey Nieuwhof

Leaders are learners. There are people that I learn from each and every day of my life. Sometimes though, I love to hear where those whom I am learning from are learning from.
In this post one of the guys I am learning from, Carey Nieuwhof, share lessons he has learned from another great leader, Reggie Joiner.  I hope these 20 lessons will inspire you today to continue to learn from others who are ahead of you.
Better Together,
Pastor Ryan

I’ve been at the Rethink Leadership and Orange Conferences this week in Atlanta. If you’ve never been you’re missing out.

I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Reggie Joiner over a number of years. We have written together, traveled together and spoken together and even started the Rethink Leadership conference together.

But more than that, he’s become one of my best friends and he’s been an incredibly positive influence on my leadership. He also officiated at my son’s wedding a few years ago. I have cherished his friendship and leadership now for over a decade.

While Reggie Joiner is passionate about families, he’s also one of the very best leaders I’ve ever met – anywhere. He’s creatively brilliant and strategically laser focused. And he’s an incredible friend to many. I think anyone who knows Reggie would agree.

But I thought you might like to learn from Reggie the way I’ve learned from him. So I thought I’d highlight 20 leadership lessons I’ve learned from Reggie over the years.

No one has a heart for families and leaders who want to help families like Reggie.

1. God doesn’t use perfect pictures. He uses broken people.

The ideal family doesn’t exist. Just read your bibles and breathe a sigh of relief. Most biblical families were just as dysfunctional as yours.

2. God wants to tell the story of redemption and restoration in every family.

God meets us where we are, not where we think we should have been.

3. God’s story of redemption in a parent’s life gives a child a front row seat to the grace of God.

When God begins to work in a parent’s life, the kids get a front row seat to grace. So beautiful. And true.

4. The environment you want to create is one where no matter how far people might stray they want to come back

When people ask me what Reggie’s like, I tell them “He’s a creative genius…one of the smartest people I’ve ever met…he’s deeply relational.” All of that is true. But he also just loves people and knows how to value them in their worst moments.

If I was ever ended up in the moral ditch, I would ask for Reggie to come help me get out. He creates the kind of environment where no matter how far people stray, they would want to come back.

Always let those who have strayed know they’re welcome home.

5. People will never believe you love them if they feel you don’t like them

The problem with many Christians is we say we love people, but we act like we don’t like them.

Nobody will believe you love them if they feel like you don’t like them.

6. Your legacy matters most with the people closest to you

Invest in the people closest to you. I have seen this modeled in Reggie’s life. His investment in time and care in the people who know him is second to none. Although he leads thousands of people, he leads the few around him with completely commitment and humility.

7. Nobody has more influence in the life of a child than a parent

Fact. This is even true into the adult years.

You can ignore that influence, or you can leverage it for good.

8. A parent is not the only influence a child needs

God never designed parents to handle their kids all alone. We need each other and we need the church.

9. Two combined influences have a greater impact than just two influences

When you combine the influences of church and family, you get something more powerful, like when red and yellow combine to produce Orange.

10. 100 years from now, the only thing that will matter in the life of a child is their relationship with God

Bam. If that isn’t perspective, what is? I have a coaster in my home I use every day for my morning tea. That’s what it says on the coaster.

11. Every child needs another voice saying the same thing a loving parent would say.

This may have saved my sanity as my kids move through their teenager years. Even though they might not want to tell me anything, they had other adults in their life they could talk to. Powerful.

12. People will not believe they are significant until you give them something significant to do

That’s why in Orange ministry, we give teens and even pre-teens significant opportunities to serve.

13. Fight for people not with them

Reggie taught me what it was like to fight for people, not with people. My life will never be the same as a result.

14. Push others into the spotlight

I don’t think anyone I know does this better than Reggie. He loves raising up leaders, handing over the mic, standing to the side and helping other leaders succed.

15. Change isn’t an option

Change isn’t an option. How you respond to it is. I love talking/writing about change. Reggie nails it in this quote.

16. Strategic steps beat random programs

Reggie taught me to think steps, not programs. Our church is so much healthier as a result.

17. The problem with needs based ministry is there’s no end to human need

Every time someone says “I see a need we should respond to”, I think about this quote from Reggie.

You could go there as a church, but just know you are never going to solve every need you see. So we just pick one or two and go deep.

18. Your strategy ultimately determines the success of your ministry.

Effective ministry is not just about great content, mission or vision it’s about having a great strategy. A poor strategy will frustrate the execution of a great mission.

A poor strategy will frustrate the execution of a great mission.

19. Teach Less For More

To cut through the communication noise our culture suffers from, teach fewer things for greater impact. All information is not equally helpful, relevant or engaging.

20. Focus on who you want to reach, not who you want to keep

I always wanted to be about unchurched people, but this principle changed my focus more anything else.

Those are 20 leadership and life lessons I learned from Reggie Joiner.

What have you learned from Reggie?