I'm convinced. After years mentoring younger leaders, there is something all of us leaders with more experience need to know.
Many young leaders share some common fears.
Granted, I've mostly worked with young male leaders (and I am the parent of boys), but I suspect these fears aren't gender exclusive.
And they aren't talked about much—or even admitted. The pressure to perform often keeps us from admitting fear, but these are real fears.
Here are three common fears of many young leaders:
1. Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes to do this job? Can I perform to expectations? Will people really even follow me?
I have a young pastor friend who actually looks younger than he is. Almost every week a person in his congregation will say something such as, "That was a pretty good message for a 20-year-old." He's in his 30s—and super sharp. It causes him to question, however, if these people are actually following his leadership—or even believe in him.
2. Am I performing to expectations? Your biggest critic is usually you. We second-guess even our best work. Young leaders don't have a track record to know when they are doing well and when they are not. They only know what they know. I feel many young leaders are always looking over their shoulder wondering if other people approve of them and their leadership.
3. What happens if I fail? Seriously, what will I do if mess this up? Will I ever be given another opportunity? Or is this a one-shot deal?
These are common and legitimate fears.
Do you want to make a difference in the life of a young leader? Help them answer these questions—in the affirmative. Help them know they've got this, you believe in them, and you are in their corner.
Above all, help them believe in themselves. Help them discover their inner strength—their God-given grace—their God-given talent. Give them words of affirmation. Help them know, by God's grace and His strength working through them, they can weather any storm and overcome any obstacle which may get in the way of being all God has called them to be.
Seasoned leaders, this is a great pursuit for us. It's a great way to allow your experience to work for kingdom good. Find a young leader who needs to hear from you. Something tells me we can help build future leaders—and, in the process, leave a legacy.
Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.
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