Sunday, November 11, 2007

Raising up Leaders...

I continue to think about this topic in light of some of the changes in our organizational structure, as well as some of the dynamics in my own movement here at Chico. It seems like one of the biggest challenges in ministry is leading people in light of the future, and aligned with the mission. What's unique to my own journey is that I have been on both sides of the 'selection' process. During college, I was not selected as a leader in our movement at UCLA. Also, I solicited help from a staff member regarding some personal issues, but that staff member, staying true to the principal of selection, directed me elsewhere since he could not invest his time in someone who was not committed to the ministry. 

That interaction, although painful and confusing at the time, proved to be one of the most valuable and shaping experiences of my leadership journey. Especially because of what happened to me as a result of this interaction--I went and sought counseling from someone who was actually skilled in that area--a counselor! That person was able to guide and counsel me in ways a staff member never could have. 

It's so hard for students to understand the role of a staff member--we seem to get confused with youth group leaders, and even babysitters. Neither of these are true. We are on campus to raise up laborers that will invest their lives in the fulfilling of the Great Commission. When we 'select' people for various roles and responsibilities, we are not saying that those particular people are the most spiritual or the best person for the role, or even the coolest person or people in the movement. We are saying that in light of where we see God leading us, and in light of what that student has demonstrated, that they would be a great person to be in that particular role or responsibility. 

Although there will no doubt be students who are not 'selected' to lead, but go on to make great contributions to the Great Commission, we as staff are not responsible for that. We are not responsible for mobilizing anyone but college students to fulfill the Great Commission. Even if a particular person might in two years be the most influential Christian leader in the world, but at the time they are in college are not Faithful, Available, and Teachable, then we as staff members can have a clear conscience about not selecting them to leadership. It doesn't make us 'wrong' or even 'foolish' in not selecting that person. It means that we are primarily accountable to who is best for our movement, since building a healthy and thriving movement will in the future contribute more to fulfilling the Great Commission than selecting a person who may go on to be amazing but at this point in life would not increase the overall effectiveness and efficacy of the movement. 

If at the end of 5 or 10 years of leading, I would happily assume responsibility for not selecting a few students that ended up going on to be great missional leaders, if by not selecting those people in place of others who were a better fit for the movement, that our movement sent out hundreds or even thousands more by those decisions. It's certainly hard to maintain that perspective in working with 'real' people and in the midst of so many different challenges, but so worth it in the long run.

No comments: