Over the last seven years we helped hundreds of young leaders in South Asia make a kingdom impact in their context. Our goal is to train young people as servant leaders while encouraging their enthusiasm and energy. Although there is a lot to say as to the best approaches to bless and nurture young leaders three stick out for us:
1) Encourage More Than You Critique:
Most young people know when they have made mistakes so they don’t need help identifying the error. Rather they need help to picking the pieces and restarting with a clear mind.
God often uses seemingly bizarre ideas to fulfill His purposes. One young man we have been working with had a big vision to buy a plot of land and start a café to reach out to students right in front of the biggest university in Delhi, India. Many thought the idea was ridiculous and economically unrealistic, yet he sought out funding for his vision for five years. Low and behold, through much encouragement, he received the investment he needed (in the millions) and is opening the café soon!
2) Enable Forgiveness and Move On:
Forgiveness is an issue we keep coming back to in our trainings. The devil loves when we have sludge of past relationships still present in our hearts. Jesus’ command for us to ‘love and pray for our enemies’ seems to be the key to finding breakthrough. When we pray earnestly for those who have hurt us, something awesome happens in the spiritual world. Praying with younger leaders for those who have offended them in the past and present helps them take less offense in the future.
3) Create Working Groups:
Young people need each other to bounce ideas and enthusiasm around. Giving the younger generation ownership and projects in groups is a good way to help them practice servant leadership in a relatively safe environment. For example, trainings we conduct in Nepal are planned, organized and carried out by a core group of young leaders who take ownership of the trainings. We’ve found that the more ownership you give, especially in small groups, the more young leaders come on board with the vision.
We are currently in the American football season where we witness the excitement of team play. Like football, being able to work together towards a project goal is always more motivating than going at it alone. All achievement is then shared collectively. Such fraternity brings joy to the soul. Imagine if everybody was just as excited about achievement as they are when football players scored a touchdown. What a team that would be!
Author: Jonathan Abraham, is the South Asia Initiative Coordinator for Development Associates International (DAI). He and his family live in India while engaging young leaders in South Asia on issues pertinent to their generation through forums, workshops, awareness campaigns and media.