I have a deep passion for influencing the next generation of Christian leaders. In fact, this will likely be my most significant legacy as it is an investment in the future of God's leaders and His Kingdom. When we invest in the next generation we multiply our influence in ways that we could never imagine. It is what Jesus did with the disciples and what Paul did throughout his ministry career. I fear that the emphasis on personal success today often detracts from a larger vision of God's success which will only be accomplished as each new generation of leaders is raised up.
In influencing the next generation I look for a specific kind of person, starting with those who demonstrate a deep love for God and a deep personal humility. They know that life is not about them and they are willing to dialogue about their lives, motives, hearts, dreams and practices. One of those I periodically mentor comes to our meetings with a list of questions to discuss. He is like a sponge as we talk through the list and explore possible solutions. There is no defensiveness on his part and he is willing to talk about hard things. Those who think they have it all together are not worth my time as they are not ready like the individual above to dialogue, think and consider.
I also look for those who are actively doing something with their faith. They are not about the theoretical but the practical. They may be in secular employment or ministry but their motivation is to live out the Kingdom life in their context. It is those who are grappling with real life questions that come out of real life ministry whom I am most interested in.
What I do not care about is what denominational tribe they come from or what stream of evangelicalism. In fact, I find it deeply rewarding to bless those who come from different tribes and different streams than mine. I learn much in the process and I am constantly reminded of the colorful mosaic that makes up the family of God. There will be ONE family in heaven and I want to practice that today. It develops in me a kingdom heart and a larger vision for what God is up to and wants to accomplish.
Along the way I have discovered that the more I am willing to give myself away the greater my heart grows for those things that God cares about. The truth is that I may get more out of these mentoring relationships than the other individual. If you are not currently giving yourself away to the next generation I would ask why?