3 easy mandates to releasing potential

keep-calm-and-be-talmidimHave you ever been invited to play on an “elite” team or participate in an “honors” program of any kind. If so, you probably remember the chest-puffed-out-pride you felt knowing that someone thought you were good enough to earn a spot on the all-star roster.

Recognizing potential requires relationship with emerging young leaders longing be to selected to do something significant today.

On Monday night at our high school Track & Field banquet, I watched the demeanor of athletes who walked forward one after another to receive their league, regional, or state medals for a year of dedication and discipline. They all carried themselves with confidence, as their name was called to come up to take their place among a select, chosen few.

trackMy favorite moment of the event each year is another award given by coaches, which typically goes to runners who may not be the best-of-the-best — The Most Improved. This honor doesn’t usually get handed out to the naturally gifted or most talented athletes. Coaches determine recipients based upon work ethic and personal growth from the beginning to the end of the season. It is a coveted honor to be chosen for this award.

As an unconventional rabbi, Jesus didn’t wait for students to come seek him out. He hand-picked his Talmid — disciples — who fell short of being voted the best-of-the-best in their educational system and chose them to follow him as part of his Biet Midrash (house of study). He saw beneath their surface, recognized their potential, and issued an invitation because he believed they could become just like him and spread his message — his yoke — to everyone, everywhere (that was the commission).

Recognizing potential requires relationship with emerging young leaders longing be to selected to do something significant today. And they aren’t looking to be invited to a meeting, event, or program. They desire something much deeper — a call to revolution — because someone believes they can actually do it. They can be part of the global construction of a new world — a new kingdom of God’s design.

There are three mandates we must make priority if we are to ignite young leaders and unleash this generation for Jesus:

  1. Spend more time connecting them to life-giving relationships.
    This doesn’t mean we can have a personal connection with every young leader, but we can make sure each one has someone pouring into their lives, mentoring them in their faith journey. Spend the majority of your time making that happen!
  2. Call them to take risks and enter unchartered, dangerous waters.
    This might mean encouraging them launch out on their own to pursue the passion of their hearts (which can only be recognized through relationship). Or make sure your life in Christ is so appealing that they want to walk in your steps.
  3. Celebrate their hard work and personal growth both publicly and privately.
    There must be intentionality to honor their willingness to step out of the boat to risk something that can only be done because they are confident that Christ believes they can do it, too. You must instill identity by honoring their efforts.

How are you calling young leaders and igniting their confidence and calling to become talmid who follow in Jesus’ footsteps today? Let me know by commenting below. I’d love to hear your words of wisdom.

with—the ethos of leadership

This message was spoken at the Ward Church Leadership Summit in Northville, MI, on Janury 18, 2014. Listen to this challenge to model, mentor, mobilize, and multiply emerging young leaders who have a safe space to discover their identity in Christ and have the permission to risk failure to become the person whom God designed.

Invite Tim to speak at your next event.


determine to ride shotgun

“Dad, can I drive this morning? Please?”

I hear those words almost everyday again, since my youngest son has his learner’s permit. Typically, there’s no problem with putting Kelton behind the wheel of one of our cars; however, I’m a little wary of handing over the keys for winter driving.

Winter weather in Michigan brings ice, snow, and slow travel (especially for an inexperienced driver). Honestly, I’m not so concerned about safety—primarily mine—but speed. And efficiency. I like to get where I’m going and get things done quickly. After nearly 30 years of driving slippery roads, I’m confident in my ability to get to our destination in one piece and on time.

But my son must learn to navigate his own way in treacherous conditions. So I relent,

“Sure, pal. Of course, you can drive.”

Sitting in the passenger seat makes me crazy. Sitting at stop signs 10 times longer than I like does, too. Reminding him to watch, slow down, speed up, use two hands. It all makes me a little twitchy. I find myself constantly having to remember my role; I’m here to teach. Prepare. And release his potential (Ephesians 4:12).

Whether you work with youth in a ministry setting, mange people in a business, teach in a classroom, or parent children at home, there’s a critical lesson here.
I implore you this week to make a list of everything you do and determine to ride shotgun. Give others the change to become. To learn. Grow. And thrive behind their own wheel.

Speed is not the goal. Neither is perfection. Training is the key. So model and move over!

Be a driving instructor—the most dangerous, fulfilling job you will ever experience.

Bob Newhart Driving Instructor Sketch