(Guest post by Eric Geiger. Eric serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources.)
Throughout history God has greatly used young leaders to challenge and lead His people, and the Scripture gives us the sense that a church should believe in young leaders. A church that does not believe in young leaders is a church that has drifted from our great history. Because of this, I have challenged churches to believe in young leaders.
Today I want to challenge younger leaders, those who have been rescued by Christ and for Christ, to believe in your church. Your local church is not perfect, but she is very important. Your church is a local body of Christ, a local expression of the bride of Christ.
Here are three ways you should express belief in your church.
1. Consume from your church.
I am using “consume” in a positive sense, and I am not advocating that you be a “consumer Christian.” In fact, don’t be a “Christian consumer” who shows up to church to evaluate and not participate, who gives based on goods and services offered.
But do participate and consume the teaching, community, and ministry your church offers. Joyfully allow your church to serve you. Come hungry and feast from your church. If you want to make an impact in your church, you must participate in your church.If you only consume podcast preachers and view your church as a place to voice your opinion and offer direction, you will not (and should not) have the credibility to influence anything.
2. Contribute to your church.
The apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to “Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Notice what qualities the apostle Paul did NOT challenge Timothy to display as he set an example.
- Paul did not say, “Set an example in energy, creativity, and innovation.”
- Paul did not challenge Timothy to set the example with “new ideas, relevant approaches, and savvy leadership.”
The qualities young leaders are often affirmed for are not what Paul challenged Timothy to exhibit. The characteristics that young leaders often are told they bring to the table are not the characteristics the church, or the world, most need.
What your church really needs is not your innovation, creativity, or skills in contextualization. What your church, and the world, needs is your example in love, faith, and purity.
3. Commit to your church.
Your church does not need you as a consultant but as one who is committed to growing alongside the people the Lord has gathered together. So commit to your church.
Speak well of her, give to her, and pray for her. You should be a blessing to your church, and your church should also be a blessing to you as you throw yourself into the community and are sanctified by the people the Lord has surrounded you with.
Church, believe in younger leaders. Young leaders, believe in your church.