One of the workshops at the 2020 Birmingham, Vital Signs Conference was about growing the next generation of leaders. It was led by Ray Evans. Here are a few highlights from the workshop
-When you look at the lists of qualifications for elders and deacons in 1 Timothy and Titus, these are not out of reach. We are not looking for spiritual superstars
Most of the qualifications are about character and only a few about gifting. Take time over discerning character. Be willing to have direct conversations about potential issues with people
Hospitality is a characteristic not a gift –all should practice it.
Look out for the people who are willing to serve. These are the potential leaders. In the past they would have been the first to go and pick up the hymn books without asking but there are other signs of service, putting out chairs, serving tea and coffee etc.
Jesus got into the boat and asked Peter to push out. He could have done it himself –it provided a test of calling. Was he willing to serve. Then he told Peter to put out his nets in the day time, would Peter follow instructions. At Grace Church, they will sometimes try someone out for leading the service by giing them a set order of service, songs chosen etc –are they willing to follow and stick to instructions.
People can lead/teach but do they always need recognition and affirmation. Do they do it for their own needs or for God’s glory
So the three things to look out for are
- Willingness to serve
- Readiness to obey instructions
- Who gets the glory?
Often in church life older people like to talk about the past, look back and younger people are impatient about talking about the future – what they want to do. Similarly new pastors can be talking about the future and retiring pastors about what has happened. We want to reverse this. Older and more experienced people should be looking forward to the future –even if they won’t see it. Younger people and new leaders should take time to learn about, get to know and affirm the past.