The double-edged sword of raising up leaders to leave and lead is, well, THEY MAY LEAVE! The goal of pouring into them is not to keep them but to send them. Sometimes that means they will go off and become “you” somewhere else, other times it’s merely to further their growth. You may have taken them as far as you can or they have just plain out grown the position that is available for them in your organization.
The “Myth” of raising up leaders is that you can accomplish it in bulk. Many leadership books can put the “fear-of-God” into you and lead you to believe that if you are not raising up twenty people to greatness right now you are a failure. The truth is that even Jesus only had 12, one of which went rogue (as if Jesus didn’t know that would happen), but he really only focused his true energy on Peter, John, and James.
Partnering with others to raise up leaders is a must. I really does take a village (thanks Hillary) to raise up great leaders, you CAN’T do it alone. Young leaders are being influenced, positively and negatively, by everyone they come in contact with. By intentionally partnering with the “influencers” in that person’s life, you can build a community that will make a greater impact than you could ever do on your own. The first true leader I raised up at South Hills, Marvin Sinson, ended up as my ATD for almost five years. Marvin is the polar opposite of me, personality and gifting wise, but shares my passion for building and shaping young leaders. One of the benefits of focusing on only a select few makes the process more intense. This intensity will produce both results and passion in them.
Results will be easy to spot. The one way to know if you are raising up leaders is that THEY are raising up and pouring into other potential leaders. It is contagious, they can’t help it and that is the whole point. Marvin, in turn, help me raise up Brent Allan, who came into our ministry at 16. The passion to raise up leaders I imparted to Marvin was passed on to Brent, who raised up others. Although we have all gone on to other ministries, that passion will continue to raise up leaders in now not one, but three organizations.
The Legacy of building leaders is that they will go on to greater things and influence way more people that I will never have the opportunity to. The leadership DNA that is imprinted on Marvin, as well as many others, can be traced back to those in my life who have impacted me. Men like Ken Robertson, Stan Endicott, Bill Richardson, Pete Tessitore, Dave Burdett, and Jim Lisby, just to name a few, have had (and some continue to have) an enormous impact, through me, on those that I influence everyday. That is their legacy, they are touching people they may never meet and that is awesome.
We get to do this!