Dear Young Leaders,
I was twenty-three when I entered vocational ministry and twenty-eight when I started a church. I always tell leaders “Don’t start a church when you’re twenty-eight. You're dumber than you think you are.” At least I was! Of course, I wanted to change the world anyway.
Young leaders here’s what you need to know: Even though you are so ready to change the world...you’re not ready to change the world...yet. I really do believe that in your twenties and thirties it’s much more about what God wants to IN you than THROUGH you. Growth, maturity, early successes and failures, character development, patience, and wisdom, are all areas that take time for God to develop.
God always wants to develop us PRIVATELY before He platforms us PUBLICLY.
The mistake I see leaders often make? They try to do too much. They try to make something happen now. They get ahead of the Holy Spirit. They outkick their coverage. They try to plant and harvest on the same day. It’s simply not God’s primary way of doing things.
Are there exceptions? Sure there are! Can God use us before we’re forty? He did with me and He can with you. Focus more on faithfulness than fruitfulness. If we are faithful, He will produce the fruit in due time?
Worst mistake I ever made? Operating too much in the flesh and not enough in the Spirit. Don’t allow this to be one of your regrets!
Are you dreaming of influence? Do you desire a platform? Be careful. Slow down. Most great leaders in God’s story lived through years of anonymity and even desert-like experiences before God used them mightily. Tell God you’re willing to be anonymous and walk through the desert before you try to lead everyone out of Egypt. The journey will be worth it. When you’re ready, God will lift you up...in due time.
In the meantime, enjoy the journey God has you on now. If you aren’t happy now, you won’t be happy when you have more influence and impact. If you’re not faithful now, you won’t be faithful then. If you are faithful now, He will trust you with more responsibility later! So take a chill pill. Focus on HIM. Work on YOU. He will take care of the rest. God has got this. God has got you!
A formerly young leader,
Shawn Lovejoy is Founder & CEO of CourageToLead.com. He loves coaching leaders through what keeps them up at night. He's been doing so since 2003. He's been married for 24 years to the most beautiful girl he's ever seen, and has three teenage kids that are his world.