Preparing to Pass the Leadership Baton

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Last week I was privileged to take part on a panel of ministry leaders organized by Alpha Canada. The event took place just outside Vancouver, and was simply entitled “Join the Conversation.” Six of us “older leaders” (ouch!) were invited to engage in leadership discussions with about 25 leaders under the age of 35; and we had a ball!

In no particular order, here were my highlights and key learnings:

• Young leaders crave mentoring
  o My generation (the boomers) has tended to process leadership development as a solo sport – not so with the emerging generation. They process in community and deeply desire to be mentored by those who have gone before.
• Many have felt rebuffed by older leaders
  o One young person shared how an elder in their church had stated publically, “No one should have a voice in leadership until they’re over 30 years old.” While all agreed that we become more seasoned as leaders with life experience, such attitudes may be driving our best and brightest young leaders away from the Church.
• “The day of the expert is sooooo over!”
  o I busily scribbled down this quote from one sharp young leader. He spoke in response to a question about the difference in how the emerging generation learns, compared to “boomers.” My generation has tended to develop most readily by listening to or reading the words of leadership experts like Bill Hybels, John Maxwell, Rick Warren, and other proven leaders. Young leaders do learn from those who have gone before (see note on mentoring), but this flows from relationship, not merely professed expertise.

As I drove home to Kelowna I found myself both excited for the future of the Church in Canada, and at the same time challenged as to how to connect young leaders into meaningful mentoring relationships.

If we can do this, I’m convinced the greatest days for the local church in Canada are still before us.

How are you equipping young leaders in your church?

the author

Scott Cochrane


  1. I’ve been waiting for you to post this! The first point resonates with me the most right now. Mentoring from “seasoned” Christian leaders is something I have prayerfully desired for quite some time now. I find it is the one thing that I am lacking in my development as a Christian leader.

  2. Paul, your own experience (as someone right in this age group) really adds weight to my observations. Thanks for contributing!

  3. Thanks Scott, I would agree on all 3 counts. I might add that the “younger” generation is inspired and motivated by creativity and innovation above almost all else and wants to serve the same ends by vastly different means than the boomer generation utilized (means such as technology, social media, organizational structures, I could list a dozen more things…)

  4. Alex, your insights on creativity adds huge value to the discussion. For us boomers it was all about ‘excellence’ (did we hit all the cues, were the lights right, how’s the sound system’ etc). Is this value still as strong with next gen?

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