Tag Archives: leadership

What you need to know before recruiting young people to your leadership team

By Mike Breen

The following is a brief excerpt from Mike’s forthcoming book Multiplying Missional Leaders, which comes out at the beginning of May. 

One of the problems about Millennials (or Gen Y, the generation right after Gen X) is that people within the generation have, in general, been over-parented. This is a sociological reality that has been studied to death. People born after 1980 have, by and large, grown up in a culture of parenting where parental responsibilities have clutched tightly as a reaction to the absentee parents of the previous generation. The parents we’re talking about don’t want to force onto their children the wounds that they feel were inflicted by their home life, and so they over-parent their children, to the extent that their children have never been trained to take responsibility.

To back up this broad-brush analysis, simply Google “helicopter parent.” You’ll find this is a whole new sociological field of research. A helicopter parent is a parent who hovers very close to his or her child all the way into adulthood. Human resource departments are now training their staff to negotiate not only with their employees but also with the parents of their employees. A very common trait in the employment process in the corporate world is that a parent turns up to an interview with his or her child, even though that child is in his or her mid-twenties, to help to negotiate the package for that child. This is so common that HR departments now have to do whole training seminars to deal with this reality.

A person who has been over parented to that extent is, in general, not standing up to the mature adult responsibilities that normally would be associated with the years of development between 20 and 30. As a result, that kind of maturation now doesn’t take place until between 30 and 40.

So the development of character and capacity is a huge responsibility. If you are largely working with young adults, know that the vast majority of these adults, even though they may look mature, don’t know how to tie their shoelaces. This is such a widespread feature in our society now that it behooves us, whenever we are thinking of bringing someone into leadership, to think through how we can assess that person’s character, capacity, the chemistry we might have with them on a team, and through those things, identify and endorse their calling.

If a person is joining a team and does not yet have the necessary character and capacity, I would suggest that your leadership pipeline recognizes that fact and trains people on such issues.

Multiplying Missional Leaders provides much more guidance on how to develop a leadership pipeline. Go to weare3dm.com for more information on how to order.

If you want to investigate more, here’s another excerpt from Mike’s blog

UPDATE: And another excerpt.


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Why churches don’t have young people

Our good friend Will Mancini had a wonderful post this week based on questions he often gets from churches about how to reach younger generations. The post begins as Will states a core principle:

Generational relevance is always a leadership issue first. Because the gift of leadership naturally develops leaders in its wake, a lack of presence with the next generation is a lack of leadership in some way. The implications are:

  • Leaders beget younger leaders
  • Those leaders and churches who reach young people aren’t thinking about it as much as it is happening naturally
  • The more conscious you are of the problem of reaching younger people, there is a leadership issue to identify
  • Younger people are primarily reached by younger leaders
  • If you don’t have young leaders, you don’t have old leaders

Based on these implications, Will spells out five strategies that churches can choose to reach young people. They are well worth your time and consideration.

Do you agree with what Will says about generational relevance and leadership? If so, what strategies have you found to address this issue? Let’s discuss it in the comments below.

By the way, Will is a clarity evangelist who helps churches and non-profits discern what their vision is. Wayfarer went through the process, and it has been invaluable for us. We encourage you to check out Will’s ministry called Auxano or to read his book Church Unique. His resources are well worth your time.


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What do your followers say about you?

By Robert Neely

My first job was as a sportswriter. I covered many different sports for newspapers (remember them?) and magazines, but pretty early in my career I focused in on the National Football League.

I still love to watch NFL games and read stories about the league, and one of my hobbies is to write about the NFL for a couple of websites, including my own.

(At this point, I need to apologize to European readers. I’ll do my best to make this story accessible; feel free to share a comparable example from the Premier League or La Liga in the comments if you wish.)

One of the biggest stories surrounding the NFL since the 2011 season ended was just how much dissension and conflict there was in the New York Jets locker room. Players have anonymously thrown each other under the bus, and several veterans have talked about just how divided the locker room became by the end of the season.

In all of the tabloid hubbub about these issues between players, one quote resonated with me. One of the team’s leading veterans, LaDainian Tomlinson (likely a future Hall of Fame running back), said that he wasn’t surprised about the blunt conflict that emerged among Jets players.

That’s because it followed the example of the Jets’ leaders – head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

“Think about this,” Tomlinson said in a radio interview. “They created this. This is the type of football team that they wanted. Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan are both brash, in-your-face type of style, say whatever you want, just get it done on the field. And then it leads to other things, as guys are calling each other out and saying, ‘I’m not getting the ball,’ or whatever it may be.”

Tomlinson wasn’t talking about discipleship, but what he said highlights an important principle that we need to consider as we lead others:

You reproduce who you are.

Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum are brash leaders who say whatever they want. So it’s no surprise that the players they lead developed into brash loudmouths too. These leaders reproduced who they are.

This is what Jesus sought to do with the disciples, and it’s what Paul sought to do as well. See what Paul said to the Corinthians:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God – even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1)

As a leader, Paul was not trying to tell the Corinthians what they should do; he was trying to show them what they should do. Because he was seeking the good of many over his own good, he could challenge the Corinthians to do the same.

This is a huge bar to clear for us as leaders and disciplers. We have to be willing to say with Paul, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Let’s take this one step further. Since we reproduce who we are, one of the things we as leaders should do is to check our followers to see what they are saying about us.

We’re not talking about the words they say to us or about us (even behind our backs). We’re talking about what their lives say about our examples.

So how can we do this? Here are a few diagnostic questions you can ask:

  • What traits do they people I disciple/lead have in common?
  • Do I see these traits in myself? If not, why not – are they not there, or do I not want to see them?
  • What do the traits of my disciples/followers show me that I need to change?

We reproduce who we are. So let’s think about what our followers say about us so that we can be the kinds of leaders and disciplers who can say, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”


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