Next generation
Are you excited about the next generation of leaders?

I love leaders—especially next-generation leaders. Specifically, I love those leaders who are currently in their 20s and 30s.

And I’m incredibly hopeful regarding this next wave of leaders—incredibly excited, hopeful and expectant. Expectant that they are going to take the reins and move things forward like no other generation before them.

Here are a few reasons why I’ve got great confidence in the next generation of leaders:

1. Passion for God. Everyone seems to think we’ve lost a generation of Christ-followers in our country, but after seeing the 60,000 college students gathered at the Passion Conference earlier this year and the 20,000-plus who gather at Urbana every other year and the 20,000 who were just in Kansas City for the IHOP Onething gathering earlier this year and the thousands who gather at Catalyst and Hillsong and Jesus Culture and Worship Central and many other venues—this instills confidence that the next generation of leaders love Jesus and are passionate about serving Him and making Him known for their generation. Read Gabe Lyons’ latest book The Next Christians for further explanation and clarity.

2. Willing to work together. Twenty- and 30-somethings are more willing to collaborate than any other generation before. They trust each other and see collaboration as the starting point, not some grandiose vision of teamwork that is far off in the distance. Collaboration is now the norm.

3. Don’t care who gets the credit. For the next generation, it’s way less about who and way more about what and why. The next wave doesn’t care who gets the credit. It’s way more about what’s right instead of focusing on who’s right.

4. Generosity and sharing are the new currencies of our culture. In business, relationships, networks, platforms, technology, distribution, content delivery and more, open source is the new standard. This new wave of leaders has tools and resources such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and tons more social media tools that make influencing much more readily available.

5. Understand the holistic responsibility of influence. They are willing to connect all of life together—faith, compassion, charity, work, career, church, family, friends. It’s all connected. There is way less compartmentalizing of life among the next generation of leaders.

6. Authenticity wins. Trust is incredibly important. Leaders won’t have followers going forward unless they trust them and see that they are authentic and real. Authenticity is not only important to the next generation, it’s a requirement.

7. Not willing to wait. Young leaders are ambitious and passionate about making a difference now. They are not necessarily willing to wait their turn. They want to influence now. Evidence of this is the explosion of church planters in the last four to five years, along with social innovation and social entrepreneurs.

8. See social justice as the norm. Leaders who care about the poor and lean into causes and see the social gospel as a key ingredient to following Christ are no longer seen as the exception. Young leaders see taking care of the poor and sharing the gospel as both crucial to the advancement of the church and of God’s kingdom. Twenty-somethings, I believe, are and will continue to become more balanced in their pursuit of both. They don’t have to be one or the other.

9. Seeking wisdom and mentors. Overall, I sense that 20- and 30-somethings are highly willing to be mentored and are hungry for wisdom from older leaders around them. Those of us Gen-Xers tend to think we have it all figured out. Millenials and Generation Y are assumed to have it all figured out because they have so many tools and technology at their fingertips. But from what I’ve experienced, they still are seeking wisdom just as much as any other generation before them.

10. Change-the-world mentality. The next wave of leaders has global visions way beyond generations who have existed before. They truly believe they can make a difference, have an impact and build significance, regardless of resources, organizational help, team and overall scale. This kind of vision inspires and also forces leaders to work together (hence No. 2).

How about you? Are you excited or concerned about the next wave of leaders?

Brad Lomenick is president and key visionary of Catalyst—a movement purposed to equip and inspire young Christian leaders through events, resources, consulting and community. Follow him on Twitter @bradlomenick, or read his personal blog at

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