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When to Invest in a Young Leader (and When to Ignore Them)

When to Invest in a Young Leader (and When to Ignore Them)
  • Name
    Paul Alexander
Like it or not, Millennials are making their way into leadership roles in churches across America. As they take their newfound place in church leadership, many of them are looking for someone to invest in them and help develop them as young emerging leaders. Experienced leaders are always going to have more opportunities available to say yes than capacity to meet them. This is true in leadership and this is true in developing young talent. You have to make a choice. So, choose wisely. How do you know who to invest in and who to ignore? Young, naïve and inexperienced talent doesn’t bother me. But young talent that is void of the following four intangibles scares me to death.


Skills can be trained but talent is developed. Talent is something you have or you don’t have. It’s something you’re born with or is gifted to you by the Holy Spirit. You get the gifts you’re given. For instance, if someone has been given the spiritual gift of leadership, it can be developed and that art can be perfected over time through study and practice. Others without the spiritual gift of leadership may learn leadership skills but they’ll never have the talent to lead at the same level as someone with a leadership gift. I’m looking for young leaders who are very talented.


In a world where everyone gets a participation trophy and kids are taught that they can do anything and be anything they want to be in life, what I’m about to say isn’t going to be very popular. But it will be true. While different people may have similar talents, they may have different capacities. The Bible is clear that while many people may get similar or even the same gifts, they are given in different measure. So, no you can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be the best you that you’re designed to be. That being said, I’m looking for young leaders who have a high capacity.


In the book of James, he Bible teaches us that “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” You can’t give something to someone who doesn’t want it or isn’t ready to receive it (both matter by the way). You can’t teach someone who isn’t teachable. I’m looking for young leaders who demonstrate a teachable spirit.


It’s OK for a young leader not to have an answer, but it’s not OK for that same young leader to not go find the answer. It’s OK for a young leader to fail and not get everything right the first time. It’s not OK for a young leader to not try as hard as they possibly can to succeed. I’m looking for young leaders who demonstrate tremendous effort. This article originally appeared here.