Young Leader Trends

Alan Nelson from REV Magazine recently asked several thought leaders to comment on the challenges facing the church. His article was entitled "What's Eating Your Lunch." I was asked what are the issues facing young leaders in the church. Here was my response: The biggest trend emerging among younger pastors and church leaders is collaboration. Not that other generations have chosen to avoid or not engage in collaborative efforts, but today's under-40 leaders are seeking and intentionally finding ways to work together, even in situations where it might be more convenient to work on their own. Obviously, the ease with which we engage in technology, social media, niche networks, and unique communication devices makes working together much easier than in the past. But it is still in stark contrast to other generations. As a general rule, young leaders are less concerned about who gets the credit and more concerned with the outcome and the greater good that results.

Boomers -- make sure to give your young church leaders the chance to engage in projects with other leaders in your community, and especially with leaders from other churches in your area.

Another major trend is the rise of the "free agent." Leaders are no longer looking at a career as a one church or one organization story. This phenomenon has taken the business community by storm over the last five to seven years, but it's now becoming more commonplace among younger church leaders. This is clearly evidenced by the reality that young leaders are more project-oriented, committed to tackling a project now and seeing immediate results, and less committed to the long-term building of an organization or personality-based church over 20, 30, or 40 years.

Boomers -- don't be afraid to allow your younger staff to lead projects and don't be overly concerned when they leave to tackle something new. Free agents seek new opportunities, and if you don't provide the environment that allows them to do this, they'll look elsewhere.

You can read the other responses from Sam Rainer, Dave Kinnaman, Michael Lindsay, and others here.