This was originally printed as an article in the Michigan Men’s Ministry Magazine, “Michigan Men Seeking Excellence,” Volume 3, Issue 8 – January 2012 as “The Next Generation: Dawn of a New Day.” This article has been updated by the author, David Morehead.
Next. Future. Tomorrow. These are all words that I felt were for “older” men. Oddly enough a few years ago at the Michigan Holiday Youth Convention these words became real to me. At only 36 years of age I was considered an old man in the student ministry world and after ten years, this was my final HYC in an official capacity. I keenly watched our students with a burning question, “Who’s Next?” Who will be the next student pastors? Worship leaders? Missionaries? Pastors? Leaders? Who can we train? Who will step up?
Train. Apprenticeship. Mentor. I have learned all of these responsibilities are up to me. I have to train the next group of leaders. Proverbs 22:6 instructs us, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The word “train” means to initiate, or give early instruction. Early training secures the habits that we form. I would like to share T.R.A.I.N. as a model of how we can develop leaders for the next generation:
It is a powerful example to sit down with a leader and help them develop a blueprint for their future. My first suggestion would be to sit with your student leaders and help them create a DAILY Discipleship Plan. Yes, we want them to graduate high school, go to college and select a career, but none of these things can happen until they can lead themselves day by day.
My Father, Pastor R.J. Morehead, always laughed at the help wanted ad that read, “Young and experienced worker needed.” It’s not possible to be young and experienced at the same time. We must release our young people giving them opportunities and help them when they make mistakes. At our last Sunday School meeting at the Potter’s House Church in Battle Creek, MI, we had 7 students that were in attendance as interns. They are some of the most energetic and tech savvy workers that we have on our staff.
A monumental book in my leadership journey was, “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. The concept is simple; don’t shop, eat or work alone. Always have a vessel with you that you are pouring into. Remember, more is CAUGHT than TAUGHT. Allow leaders to CATCH who you are on a daily basis. Leadership positions are important for early development, but it is also crucial that leaders have one on one time with their leader for formational leadership to take hold.
I have watched young leaders grow weary because they felt there was no place for them. Proverbs 13:12 tells us, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” It is crucial for leaders to clearly lay out the expectations and create opportunities for people to be used. I understand that to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48),” but this still gives room for EVERYONE to start with LITTLE responsibilities.
Maturation of a leader takes intentionality. As a student pastor, I worked diligently to place resources in students hands to help them grow as a leader. Here is a Student Leadership Booklist that you can use to help your students develop and grow their soft skills of leadership and there are many other resources available to help them develop spiritual gifts.
Excited. Confident. Proud. These are my feelings for the next generation. This generation is talented, creative and anointed. However, it is up to us to cultivate their growth! Well, I just attend the recent Michigan Holiday Youth Convention and I’m proud to report that MDY is alive and well! The newly elected Michigan Youth President, Austin Hopper, was in my youth group his entire high school experience. He is doing a great job and has an unbelievable team. Austin McCool, a young adult that I have worked with the last 3 years with media, was the lead producer for the entire convention. Gary and Lindsay Smith, Youth Pastors of CLAY at the Potter’s House Church, where I was formerly youth pastor, had a group of 27 at the Convention. So, it is entirely possible to T.R.A.I.N and reproduce the best version of yourself for the cause of revival in the NEXT generation! Who will YOU t.r.a.i.n. THIS YEAR?