For young people to step up into leadership requires two things – young people to be ready to step up but it also requires those with power to step back too.
To be given power is a great gift, it often comes after much struggle, hard work and self sacrifice.
Sometimes, who we are, is tied up in the positions we have.
To be able to contribute to something as a leader is a beautiful thing and an incredible privilege.
Here’s the kicker, when you have given your whole life to serve God and you have an ideal or vision of what this looks like it can be very hard to let it go and yet it is not ours to hold onto. We have been given this vision, this gift by God and we are merely called to play a part in that vision.
I think one of the hardest things to do in those moments is to be looking to see who God is raising up next to take what we have offered and take it where it is meant to go next. That person that God is asking us to offer it to as a gift. The thing with a gift is that you have to hand it over and you have to let it go.
In that moment we have two choices, we can stand there and tell people how they should use it properly and make sure they are doing it exactly the way you do. Become a little clone of you. The thing I have noticed about this is that the next person never seems good enough, or there is never enough little clones to fill the longing of “have I done enough”. It also means that you never let go and see what God wants to do next, we only see a reflection of ourselves.
Or… you can share what you know, hand over the keys and see what they do with it. That takes real courage, trust and faith in God. Some of my best mentors have taught me all they know, allowed me to see how that works for me, been close enough that I can come and ask questions, but not controlling what is going to happen next and then listened to where God is calling them next.
One of the hardest things I ever had to do was to walk away from something that I didn’t feel done with, but I had no choice but to go. I walked away with the questions – was my time a waste? What did I achieve? What was the point? Sometimes it takes a long time to see it, but the greatest gift was to touch back in and discover that the seeds I had planted had taken root and sprouted. They were growing and flourishing in ways I did not expect and the plants grew because I wasn’t there taking the light.
So people, where are you called to share the seeds of your wisdom and experience as a gift and to whom? This is not someone for you to find, but a deep prayer that only God can fulfil, keep your eyes open, I can guarantee they will not be a clone of you!
Or… maybe you have been sharing and maybe the time has come that you have to step away and let a little light in. I know this is hard my brothers and sisters, and I know you might not be able to see who God is raising up but that is not your problem to solve but God’s. Remember nothing you do for God is in vain. The seed is hidden for a long time before it sprouts.
My prayer is for you as you do this, it can be heart breaking to do. I promise you two things, God is saying “Well done good and faithful servant, and I’ve got this.”
If you are not sure how to do this or what it looks like, can I suggest check out the Growing Young book from Fuller Institute. Particularly the chapter on keychain leadership, or have a look at Kara Powell as she offers some ideas about how to move forward in sharing leadership with young people.
“Young people will quickly forget what you teach them they will never forget how you helped God to work through them.”
Let’s see what God has in store for us next..