One of the main responsibilities of leaders is not to acquire more followers but to raise up more leaders. I’ve never been in a church in my life, however large it may be, where they had all the. leaders they wanted and desperately needed. How do you identify potential leaders? Chuck Lawless shares some steps to raising up and calling out the next generation of Christian leaders.
Guest Post by Chuck Lawless
I’ve previously written about the importance of pastors “calling out the called” within their congregations. I’m convinced this responsibility is ours, but most pastors I know don’t do it intentionally. Most of us wait until someone comes to us with questions about a potential call (and, certainly we must minister to them where they are)—yet, with that approach we miss the opportunity to challenge others to consider a call. Here are some steps toward “calling out the called”:
- Pray. Ask God to raise up laborers from the harvest of your ministry. Pray that prayer at least weekly, if not daily. Trust God to hear and respond to your prayers.
- Watch. Keep your eyes open for young people who show promise and commitment that at least make you wonder about the possibility of their calling. Watch for answers to the prayer you’ve been praying (#1 above). In fact, be alert for older members, too, who might be called later in life.
- Challenge. I knew the Lord had called me to preach when I was 13, but it was a member of our church who challenged me to respond publicly to that call. Don’t wait for others to come to you; take the initiative to challenge them to consider a calling.
- Prioritize. You won’t invest in the next generation of gospel workers unless you choose to do so intentionally. Clear your plate enough to spend time with pastors and missionaries in the making, and let them know your commitment to their growth.
- Walk. Spend time with them beyond set “classroom” times. Let them see how you love your spouse and raise your children. Show them how you study the Word and pray. Model humility and grace in front of them.
- Wonder. This step may surprise you, but here’s my point: if you’re going to encourage and help others to be gospel workers, you yourself must be filled with wonder and amazement that God has called even you to do ministry. If you’re weary of this work, you won’t produce a generation of excited, zealous workers.
- Utilize. Put these folks to work. In some ways, I am where I am because my pastor gave me a chance to preach, challenged me to teach in Vacation Bible School, and took me with him to make ministry visits. His willingness to do so made me feel needed and pushed me to give my all.
- Release. At the end of the day, your goal is to release your best to reach the nations and make disciples who obey all that Jesus commanded. Even if you choose to hire them for your team, you still need to challenge them to do greater things than you’ve ever done.
- Watch again. Release them, but don’t forget them. They will need you again at some point, and they’ll likely turn to you then for guidance. You may need to watch them from a distance, but do be an ever-ready, always willing shepherd for them.
- Be humbled. After all, God has used you to raise up the next generation of gospel workers. He’s trusted you, equipped you, and led you as you prepare to guide others. Be humbled by this calling. Live out this privilege well.