Mind Vitamins for a Tuesday Morning

I’m reading a book called Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership and Staff on the Same Page by Larry Osborne. It’s for work and we’re going to discuss it as a staff. It has a lot of food for thought about leadership in churches and such…and a lot so strong opinions.

In a chapter about making sure you have younger people (meaning mid-20’s to mid-30’s, in this case) in influential leadership roles, giving them visible platforms and influence. In it he talks about one possible downside of leadership that has been at it for years, occupying the majority of leadership positions throughout the church, and they stay there. He calls this “shotgun” leadership, basically saying who calls the seat first gets to ride along in the best seat.

But then he gives some checkpoints and examples of figuring out if your church is there or not. Here’s what the author says, from page 121:

“Shotgun churches are easy to recognize. Just look for a church where all the influential seats are filled by old-timers. And the telltale sign is a once thriving church that has grown old, nostalgic and culturally irrelevant. Still another indicator is a strong youth ministry but few young singles or young families in the worship service. (I call these ‘feeder churches’ because they feed the fastest-growing churches in town with a steady stream of young eagles, singles, and families.)”

*”young eagles” is the author’s term for young, gifted potential leaders”

Now, here’s the rub:

See, I’m a big fan of cross-generational ministry. I value the wisdom and experience of the older generation. Conversely, I value the passion and energy and creativity of the younger one. So, I guess this morning I’m thinking through the balance of it all.

I mean, I don’t think everybody on leadership committees and boards and key volunteers should all be 25. They shouldn’t all be 55, either. Both extremes could have all sorts of negatives attached.

So, my question is how do you have leadership committees and boards that have a healthy balance of enthusiasm and creativity with wisdom and experience?

Now that author suggests one way to get started is to have a retreat of mixed-age leaders, say about 40 or so people, mixed gender and 50-50 young/old and ask questions such as:

*What would we do differently if we’re starting all over again?
*What are we doing now that we wouldn’t do?
*What are we not doing now that we would do?
*On a scale of 1-10, how effective is each ministry and program?
*On a scale of 1-10, how effective is each staff member?

Again, this sounds great, but if you implemented that, then you’re going to have to make some hard choices on the back end of that meeting. Like maybe losing staff or valued programs. So, this sounds great in theory and it’s always fun to brainstorm…but if you acted on your findings it could get difficult in a number of ways.

So, I’d like to hear your thoughts on one of things I’ve been preaching on and thinking about for years: The idea of a converging congregation. One that recognizes that all ages have a valued place at the table, and one that strives to be a true family…with grandparents and toddlers and everybody else in-between sharpening each other and doing life together.

Have at it, patrons!