By Matt Sorger
GOD IS RAISING UP A NEW generation today. Emerging Christian leaders in their 20s and 30s are going beyond the walls of church buildings to invade every area of society. I am excited to be a part of this movement. We are taking a relevant gospel message that is combined with the raw power of God.
But we don't want to do this alone! We desperately need mature, godly leaders who can steer us through the mine fields of this challenging season. God is calling true apostolic fathers and mothers to rise to the occasion to equip and nurture younger leaders so they can fulfill God's purposes for their generation.
One generation must build upon the legacy of another. The older generation's ceiling can become the floor for the younger generation to build upon. To successfully transition the church into this new season of exponential multiplication and impact, three principles are crucial for us to understand and practice.
Today's generation is relational. Young emerging leaders desire a relationship with the seasoned leaders God has raised up in the church. We want the older generation's blessing. We don't expect perfection in our mentors and spiritual mothers and fathers. We simply desire their love, support and encouragement. We want to learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. We honor and love our spiritual leaders and we crave transparency, openness and a new level of vulnerability. I believe such love and authenticity is possible between the generations.
This emerging generation truly desires to build the kingdom of God alongside the older generation. What we as sons and daughters are looking for are authentic spiritual parents who can help show us the way and encourage us to pursue our dreams.
True apostolic fathers and mothers don't use control, fear, insecurity or jealousy to lead others. These things stifle the growth of God's kingdom. God is raising up leaders who lead with the heart of David, not the tactics of Saul. Saul became jealous when he learned of David's success. Out of fear, insecurity and envy he sought to remove a possible threat to his kingdom. Seasoned leaders must never be threatened by the anointing or success of an emerging leader. Leaders must be releasers, not constrictors. A true father wants his son or daughter to succeed. Love is not threatened by success but rejoices with it. Insecurity, fear or jealousy in the heart of any leader is detrimental to the health and life of the church. We must move beyond ourselves so we can effectively minister with a pure heart to see the church truly become what God has intended it to be.
We must also move beyond simply "releasing" this generation to "do their thing." God is bringing a strong paradigm shift in the hearts of many leaders on this key issue. It's not just about releasing; it's also about sending. There is a big difference. This shift could mark the beginning of a new level of spiritual multiplication and acceleration. Leaders must be intentional in looking for those to mentor and train. We must not use emerging leaders simply to build our own ministries, even though God may have them serve in supportive roles for a season. We must take the time to discover their spiritual gifts and help them get where God is ultimately calling them to be. For too long we have repeated the age-old pattern of cutting off those God is calling us to raise up. Perhaps out of a sense of rejection we interpret their vision as a betrayal of our own. But God wants leaders who know how to steward the people He entrusts to them to train.
This is the mark of a selfless leader: He uses the influence God has given him to propel people forward, not to hold them down. The true mark of leadership is when God allows you to use your platform to launch others into their destinies.
This relational, selfless style of leadership will empower us to make quantum leaps forward in reaching the world with the gospel. Older and younger generations must work and serve together to see the Great Commission fulfilled. Let's do it!