How do we bridge the generation gap, both in the corporate world and in the church?
I would not be speaking to you today, if it weren’t for those who have gone before me. I am here today because of the woman and men who have gone before and invested in me.
How do I know if I am in the older generation? If you have to ask that question, you probably are.
My advice is fairly simply, don’t resent, fear, or judge the next generation. Believe in them! They need you.
When I turned 40, I asked, “Are the best years of ministry behind me?” For a season of time, I felt really insecure. I can I still engage and make a difference.
God values maturity. If you’re not dead, you’re not done. Your best days are before you as you take the maturity that He has given you and invest it in others.
How can you hand leadership over to the next generation?
Delegate with Authority
The key in delegating… you don’t just delegate tasks to the next generation. If you delegate tasks, you’ll generate followers. You delegate authority, then you create leaders.
Within the boundaries of our values, give them total freedom to experiment and find their way.
Embrace The Season
To the older generation, embrace the season that you are in. Don’t try to be something that you are not. They can smell a fake from a million miles away. Who faked?
Authenticity trumps cool every single time. Be yourself. If you are real, they will line up to learn from you. Don’t be afraid to be the father when God calls you to. Don’t keep trying to be the cool big brother.
Let the switch flip on the inside. I can be a spiritual father to those who come behind me. You can be a coach.
Psalm 17:18 Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation.
What you have is an asset to those who come behind you.
You need those who have gone before you more than you can imagine. A group surveyed executives about the emerging generation of employees, the twenty-somethings in the workforce. They asked, “What is the one word that describes them?” The one word was entitled. We’ve protected the next generation to an extreme. Here’s the problem with the younger generation. You feel entitled. You overestimate what you can do in the short run. You will over estimate what you can do in the short run. You will under estimate what you can do in the long run through a lifetime of faithfulness.
How do i lead up? Honor your leaders. Honor publicly results in influence privately.
We have a younger generation feels so entitled, they don’t show honor.
Mark 6:4 “Only in his home town…is a prophet without honor. He could not do any miracles there, except lay hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”
Somehow, a lack of honor and a lack of faith limited what Jesus would do.
One of the reasons we don’t honor those above us, is because we don’t honor God enough.
Honor builds up. Dishonor tears down. In many places and many ways, a lack of honor is limiting what could be and should be.
Respect is earned, but honor is given. You show honor to those above you. Sometimes when I ascribe honor to you that you become more honorable. If you ever want to be over, you need to learn to be under faithfully.
What does this look like at LifeChurch.tv?
I needed my pastor to get better, I needed to get better. For the generations to work together, it has to be intentional. It won’t happen by accident. Leadership teams naturally age. Churches naturally age. We must be very intentional about learning from one another.
1. Create on-going feedback loops from those that are older and those that are younger.
I go over my message with those that are younger and those who are older every week before I teach it. I create feedback loops from those in both generations. After I teach the first one, then I have it critiqued again by those who are both younger and older than I.
2. Create specific mentoring moments
You have to plan for gathering with those from other generations. Ask someone older than you to mentor you. 9 times out of 10 they have never been asked that. Then come with questions and take notes. Don’t try to copy what they do. Learn how they think.
3. Create opportunity for significant leadership development
We had a weekend recently where we developed 38 up and coming communicators/teachers in our congregation. The youngest was a 22 year old girl. That sent a huge message to our entire church. Create those opportunities.
To those who have gone before me, I honor you with all of my heart.
To those who come behind me, I believe in you more than you can imagine.