As we look back over life, many of us remember a time when we were younger that we just didn’t feel ready to take the next step. We’d say things like…“I’m just not ready to settle down yet and get married” or “I’m not ready to have kids yet”. Then someone older and wiser than us would come along and remind us….you’ll never be ready. Eventually you come to that realization and you take those big steps. It’s not all that different in other aspects of life. For some of us we proved ourselves trustworthy and hard-working on the job quickly. In doing so you were given opportunities to do harder things. Unfortunately, out of fear of failure, lack of confidence, and maybe just not totally knowing what to do we sometimes turn those things down. It’s interesting how we can look back on our lives and see times when we said no to opportunities and realize how we missed out on growth opportunities. I know I’ve missed out on some for sure.
I think about these things because all too often as a leader in the church when I ask younger men to step up to lead I get a bunch of excuses why they aren’t able to. Simple excuses like…I’m too busy, I don’t know enough about the Bible, I don’t feel qualified etc. The saddest part about all of it is that almost never do you get an excuse along the lines of no because they don’t feel like God wants them to do that specific thing because God is directing them to lead in another way. More often than not, men are just opting not to lead and missing out on opportunities to grow.
There are all kinds of places we can look in the Bible to see evidence of leadership by young men and sometimes even young boys and teenagers. Probably one of the best examples we can look at is the disciples. While we don’t have record of exactly what ages they were when Jesus called them to follow Him, most believe they were young men, some possibly even teenagers. Each of them had to make a choice when Jesus asked them to follow Him. In that moment each of them could have said no for various reasons. They would have to leave their careers…none of them were Jewish scholars…none of them had spent time preparing and getting qualified to follow Jesus. Despite that fact, each one of them said yes. I know some along the way during Jesus’ life chose not to follow Him, but I wonder if Jesus might have asked some to be his elite force of early church leaders only to be told no for any number of reasons. What an opportunity this would have been to pass up but, in our youth sometimes we say no and miss out.
In a time when we need more men than ever to step up and say yes to not only following Jesus and also to lead here are some important thoughts:
- Men are designed by God to lead. Yes, we all have different personalities, but we also have spiritual gifts from the Lord. Leading doesn’t always mean standing on stage and preaching. I don’t care if you lead from behind the scenes or in front of the crowd, God has a place for you to lead within the church that fits your gift set.
- Men need to stop making excuses. When people tell me no they’re not willing to lead without giving it an ounce of prayer; most of the time you’ve just told me you’re making excuses based on fear, selfishness and feelings of inadequacy…not because God told you no.
- Men need to trust the Lord. I’ve heard it said…”God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called”. Every one of us is unqualified to serve the Lord in every way apart from the leadership of God himself. Trust the Lord to equip you and give you the ability to do anything and everything that He wants you to do.
- Men should learn to be comfortable with being unqualified. Churches have too many people as it is running around doing ministry in their own human power instead of the power of the Holy Spirit. Maybe if we would just say yes to the Lord, be content with the fact we aren’t able by ourselves, then we’d rely on the Lord enough to actually accomplish something God sized!
Before I conclude, let me remind you older guys out there…we need you. We need you to care about the younger men, we need you to show us how to lead, show us how to use our gifts. I know some of you have served faithfully and led well in the church for many, many years…but if you don’t help the next generation of men learn to lead…who will lead the church when you’re gone? Who will lead the church now to be relevant to younger families?
From one young guy, who has made plenty of mistakes by saying no plenty of times when God was probably trying to grow me…let’s start leading! Whether it’s inconvenient, uncomfortable, challenging…let’s say yes to doing God things instead of saying no to all things! Let’s learn to lead!