As one who started to preach at 14 years of age and was a pastor at 21, I know all too well the mistakes we are prone to make in the early years. I chose to write on these because, regardless of age, beginners in ministry usually make the same mistakes over and over.
We are always thrilled to see new leaders emerge. We who are older need to help them in the process. Here are some tips and bits of wisdom from observation and personal experience.
Emerging Leaders Generally Have Zeal Without Knowledge.
This zeal is a great attribute. You need it to get over discouraging hurdles in the path of ministry, both natural and supernatural. But this same zeal can also be a weakness. Romans 10:2 talks about zeal without knowledge. Paul said “for I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.”
Don’t run over people in trying to save or help them. They will resent you for it and you will lose them. Excitement for accomplishing tasks is good, but don’t overlook details that might rise up to bite you later. Don’t just see the forest; see the trees (individuals) as well.
Emerging Leaders Often Have Unrealistic Goals.
Young leaders often think that just because they arrive on the scene, everything will be different. This is a “messiah complex.” It says, “Lo, I have come!” They then expect everybody to do what they say and change the city. It doesn’t happen that way.
Recognize that you cannot change people; they must change themselves by developing new ways of thinking. Romans 12:2 reminds us that it takes a renewed mind to bring about transformation.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Learn to develop goals corporately with those you lead. Then move your people’s thinking forward to accomplish their goals, not yours. This is an important key to success.
Emerging Leaders Often Have One “Hobby Horse” That They Ride To The Exclusion Of A Balanced Presentation Of The Word Of God.
Prosperity, prophecy, healing, deliverance, soul-winning, are all vital parts of the Gospel. All need emphasis. However, to emphasize one to the exclusion of others is to be unbalanced and incomplete in your preaching. This, in turn, leads to raising up leaders who do not have a solid theological base to work from. Sooner or later there will be a wreck which will sidetrack these poorly trained leaders.
Remember to study and teach “the whole counsel” of the Lord. Expository preaching will assure that Biblical revelation is taught and “hobby horses” are not allowed to dominate and lessen your ministry’s effectiveness.
Emerging Leaders Sometimes Put Their Ministry Before Their Families.
It is difficult to achieve balance in this area. But your quality of life and ministry depend on your being able to do so. Don’t let your desire to “be the best” at ministry cause you to neglect your family. Keeping your family foundation strong and happy is your single greatest ministry strength and must be your first priority.
Emotional neglect of your spouse and children will destroy your ministry and your family. It does not pay to win the world but lose your own house.
Emerging Leaders Often Ignore The Advice Of Older, Wiser Leaders.
It is true, of course, that age or even experience does not always produce wisdom. So don’t just take advice from everybody with gray hair. But align yourself with a wise apostolic father who has had some proven success and who can guide you into ministry on something better than a “hit and miss” basis.
Rehoboam, the son of Solomon (1 Kings 12), refused to listen to wiser heads and instead surrounded himself with young, reckless, yes men. This mistake divided his kingdom and lead to his failure as king. Don’t make the mistake of refusing to listen to the counsel of older, wiser leaders who are committed to your success.
Emerging Leaders Sometimes Compete And Do Not Partner With Other Leaders.
Comparing yourself, your church size, your income with peers is a deadly mistake. We all have different gifts, abilities and callings. Be the best you can be with your anointing and environment. Don’t gauge your success by whether or not your ministry is bigger than someone else’s.
2 Corinthians 10:12 reminds us of how foolish this is:
“For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.” (NASB)
Such leaders need to realize how partnering with other like-minded leaders, especially a spiritual father in the Lord, will maximize their ability to get things done!
Emerging Leaders Often Build Without A Strong Foundation.
A building or a crowd does not make a church. Take the time to establish a strong leadership team and plan for sustaining growth for the long haul. Revivals might bring crowds and even usher in lots of families. But are you prepared to nurture and develop them into spiritual servants and leaders when they arrive?
Immediate growth must produce long-term fruit for you to have true success. The deeper the foundation, the bigger the building you can build. The deeper the roots, the taller the tree can grow. Spend more time and energy on building a strong foundation for your long-term ministry than on quick growth in numbers and money.