I am often asked about the best steps in developing young leaders. My answer normally astounds people. “First, Listen!”
Leaders by nature and gifting are endowed with hopes and dreams for a healthier and more caring society. Embedded deep inside of them is a burning desire to help others and see change for the better. Brokenness and despair trouble them profoundly. Anger over matters of injustice, sloth, abuse, indifference, disease, and greed troubles their waking hours and disturbs their sleep patterns. The status quo is not acceptable as they hunger and thirst to see the goodness of God in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
What do these people need most? Not someone to come and tell them what to do or how things are done in our land or to offer a seminar on leadership. Instead they need someone to listen to them. They need a discerning and caring ear, one who draws out their hopes and dreams. In the process the young leader is affirmed, honing vision and building courage to articulate the treasure that is buried inside of his/her soul.
This week, I listened to three young leaders of Rwanda who are dreaming of a New Generation for a New History. They see the day when Hutus and Tutsis, young and old, and men and women will live together in unity in diversity. They are in faith breathing the air of freedom when the citizens live in solidarity. They are convinced that someday their nation will no longer seek help from other nations but instead will be peaceful and prosperous, generously contributing to the development of other nations.
How do I know this? I took the time to listen to their hearts. I let them tell me what causes their hearts to beat fast and their eyes to be wild with excitement. This is the first step in building leaders who will rebuild nations. Listen today to another. You’ll never know what you may discover; you may be used as an instrument in bringing the goodness of God into the land of the living.
As I write this message, I want to introduce you to Kevin and Renée Napier who are joining Breakthrough Partners. The requests for our time multiply weekly. We need to increase our capacity. Kevin and Renée are great listeners and know how to build leaders who will give themselves to rebuild broken communities. You will want to get to know them through the bios posted on our website.