This is a continuation of the post from last week. You might want to read that before tackling what is below.

Advice To Young Leaders (Part 1)

5. Don’t be a slave to your tech “toys”

You can tell the difference between the men and the boys by the price of their toys.  I saw a bumper sticker once that read, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” That pretty much summarizes the western culture’s view of “stuff.”

Watching leaders with their “devices” (jumping at each vibrate or ring tone) makes me wonder if the tail is now wagging the dog. What started as a helpful tool has now become our master and enslaved us.  Awhile back I was at lunch with a leader and, under the table, he was texting while nodding and pretending to pay attention to his guests who had traveled some distance to meet with him. 

In order to dethrone our love affair with “Our Toys,” how about creating finish lines at the end of a work day (5p or 6p) and turning off your cell phone and computer so you can focus on some replenishing time for yourself and time with your family? I have suggested this more than once to leaders I coach. For some, it can be like going cold turkey from a drug. Goes to show you how tied we are to our tech toys. Have your tech toys become an “idol?”

6. Don’t suffocate but delegate

Good leaders get others to help them, while other leaders try to do it all by themselves. We need to go back to the first piece of advice on delegation given in the Bible: Exodus 18 where Moses was instructed by his father-in-law to learn how to delegate.

I give an exercise to those I coach, asking them to write down everything they are doing, or think they should be doing, ministry-wise.  Then put a check next to everything on the list that only they can do.  It always surprises them that many of the items are not checked, which obviously means someone else could do some of these things.

Why, then, is someone else not doing it? It’s because they have never asked anyone to do it, nor have they trained anyone to do it. The rationale is often that “I can do it faster myself…that it will take too much time to train someone else….time I don’t have.” This might work in the short run; but, in the long run, it will “kill” you and truncate any growth your team, church or organization might experience. Check your ego at the door and learn how to delegate, before you fall victim to burn-out and/or a complete meltdown.

7. Don’t be a loner but choose genuine community and accountability

I understand that accountability is often seen as an idea with no teeth–a concept that is more bark than bite, but that doesn’t negate its essentiality and criticalness.

I know of a lot of young leaders who simply believe they don’t really need accountability and don’t want it either. This smacks of Proverbs-like “folly” with a good deal of pride mixed in. These young leaders want the freedom to do what they want, when they want–not having to answer to anybody. The potential thrill of skating close to the edge of the ice gives them an adrenaline rush that can be exciting, but can also be very dangerous.

There are leaders in the evangelical church who encourage church attenders to be in “small groups” but don’t regularly participate themselves; nor do they have a friend or friends to whom they give permission to ask the tough questions to which they fully intend to be brutally honest in answering.

I have been in vocational ministry for 50 years and have seen more than my share of fallen leaders who got into sexual or financial sin (two of the biggies), and there wasn’t a single person in their ministry circle or among their close friends who knew what was going on.  Everyone was blindsided by it!

I personally knew a lead pastor of a large church who literally scoffed and laughed at the idea of being accountable to anyone, but didn’t object if anyone on his staff wanted to pursue it. He saw no value in it and wanted no part of it. After a period of time, that pastor allowed himself to get into a compromising situation which eventually resulted in him stepping down and the church dealing with the fall-out of a sordid situation. It didn’t need to happen. He had no one walking closely with him. The devil had the last laugh.

To whom are you making yourself known?  Who are you allowing to ask you the questions you would rather not answer, but need to? You are not smart enough, godly enough, or strong enough to go it alone and it was never God’s intention for you to do so.