Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Passing the Baton of Leadership

"A leader's work is never done. Putting out a fire, reaching a summit, slaying a monster only clears the way for the next and greater challenge, be it organizational or personal... The last -- and arguably the most important-- leadership test is likely to be the most taxing because it is so different from those that precede it: sharing what you have learned with the next generation. Many leaders fail this test. Slaying monsters is a very different skill from teaching others how to do it. And, as Kenneth W. Freeman writes in "The CEO's Real Legacy" (HBR November 2004), it takes a well-managed ego to help a successor become, in the best case, an even better leader than you are." (HBR January 2007, p.128)

Robert Lewis echoes that thought: "there is no greater investment in the future of the church than... identifying, encouraging and providing training for the young leaders in our midst..." (The Church of Irrestible Influence , Zondervan, 2001, p. 179)

Keith Drury (www.drurywriting.com) taught a cadre of youth leaders about "the Joshua problem." Moses raised up Joshua. Joshua raised up_____________. That's right. Nobody.

There's a sea change of leadership coming in The Wesleyan Church. Dr. Earle Wilson has provided exceptional leadership to our denomination as General Superintendent since 1984 but is likely to retire at General Conference 2008. Dr. Don Bray is resigning/retiring from years of exemplary leadership with Global Partners. Several district superintendents are over 60 and more than a few of the pastors of our largest churches now qualify for their AARP discount.

So, what will The Wesleyan Church look like 20 years from today? A lot like the next generation leaders you're developing in your local church right now. Working hard to leave a legacy is another way to keep your edge!