I planted Activate Church in April 2006 with a core group of young, passionate and visionary young people. We had energy and drive but very little material resources. We had passion and vision but only a little wisdom. We had faith and were willing to sacrifice but we lacked the seasoned perspective of more experienced campaigners around us.
We grew quite quickly, by God’s grace but we also expended a ton of energy. Sometimes, we discussed things and wrestled with issues that really were more of a distraction, than it was a help. Since then, I’ve become very focused on making sure that my energy and the energy of the team around me is directed to what’s most important. It’s the leader’s job to work out what’s most important, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Growing up a pastors kid and spending several years on staff at a number of churches, I thought I had the goods to get the job done but little did I know there is a big difference between being a member of a team and being the point leader of the team. There is a drafting effect when you are working in the slipstream of a point leader that does make it easier, but the moment you take the lead position, the weight and wind resistance increases exponentially. There was a definite weight-shift that took place when I took the lead pastor role and it only compounds the further you go and grow.
Youthful enthusiasm brings energy and momentum to any organization, especially a church. At Activate we have a 6pm service Sunday nights that has more than doubled in the last 12 months and with it has come new Christians hungry for the word and passionate in their worship of Jesus. I value youthful enthusiasm but I have come to appreciate the wise sages around me who have given very helpful advice at much-needed times.
I’ve come to learn that wisdom trumps enthusiasm. Passion, energy, drive and enthusiasm needs the focus of wisdom to direct it to the right target. Not only do we need to bring wise and experienced campaigners around us but we also need to grow in wisdom ourselves. Wisdom comes from 3 primary sources:
- Fear of God (Proverbs 1:7) – Until you fear God and weigh most heavily in your life, you will remain an undisciplined fool.
- Wise Counsel (Proverbs 15:22) – Point leaders need the right information from the right people at the right time. Your job is to build a team of the right people around you, who can not only do their jobs but give you the counsel you need, when you need it.
- Applied Experience – It isn’t enough to just have an experience, you need to apply it to your life by reflecting and possibly journaling on what you have learnt from the pain or success of the experience. Some people live the same experience 50 years in a row and never learn from it. Don’t be that person. Learn, don’t make the same mistake twice and grow.
The curse of youthfulness is impetuosity and to be honest I had buckets full of it. On the one hand, I had an action orientation that lends itself towards quick results but sometimes, only temporary results. Our generation wants everything done yesterday. In fact I don’t know any leader who doesn’t want things moving more quickly. However, wisdom gives you the needed discernment and perspective to help make the best use of the opportunity that’s presented before you.
Impetuosity moves quickly but spends energy unnecessarily. Leader, you aren’t just called to make any old thing happen, you’re called to make a specific thing happen and to steward what God has entrusted to you. This requires both capacity and wisdom.
We must obey the biblical exhortation to proclaim to the coming generation the glory of God (Psalm 78) but we must also exercise wisdom in how we lead ourselves and the young people around us into God’s purposes for the future well-being of the church.