You don’t have to look very far to see that age matters in our society. Once you reach a certain age, you are permitted to do things that would otherwise be beyond your reach. While your access to or denial of is largely dependent upon your age, your ability to see life from the proper perspective is vital to your development. In your youth you will always see life through the lens of your restrictions, but as you mature you can now see where your boundaries were really your blessings in disguise. As young leaders many of us despise our ages, looking to the days ahead when we are “old enough” to see and enjoy the fruits of our labor, but I’m here to remind you: Do not measure your impact by your age, there is purpose in your youth.
3 Reasons Young Leaders Should Act Their Age:
1. Your Audience Is In Your Age Group
Recently, I saw a video reel from one of the latest Justin Bieber concerts. It was no surprise to me that the audience was filled with thousands of screaming teenage girls. Why you ask? Because every audience wants a speaker who can relate to them. A young audience wants to be led by someone who has a clear understanding of what it’s like to be them. There will be some audiences that will see your age as a drawback, but to your audience it is one of your greatest assets and means of your greatest influence.
It is easy to feel the pressure to grow up quickly, but don’t grow up at the expense of your audience. Your audience appreciates your ability to see things through their eyes. They see you as their leader or pastor or teacher because you are one of them. Enjoy this while you can because you will never be this young again.
2. Your Age Gives You Permission To Learn
My kids are at the age where they can almost do a lot of things. One of the things they can almost do is prepare cereal, but somehow they always manage to spill the milk. This has become an expectation for my wife and I. I don’t scold my kids for spilling milk because they are 4 and 7 years old, but when they become teenagers my expectations of them will change. Foreknowing the chances, we grant them permission to fix the cereal because we understand that spills are a part of growth. The same is also true for leadership. It takes experience, practice, and even some spills to become a great leader. Great leaders become great over time, not overnight. As a young leader be prepared to have some spills along the way, but also understand that you will get better as time goes on.
3. The Old You Will Enjoy The Victories Of The Young You
In Genesis 49:27, Jacob spoke an amazing blessing over his youngest son Benjamin.
“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
devouring his enemies in the morning
and dividing his plunder in the evening.”
Jacob declared that what Benjamin conquered in his youth, he would enjoy in his old age. The same is true for young leaders today as well. I know that we would like to see instant progress, but your life and ministry is an investment into your future. Every great leader has what I like to call “a hidden testimony”. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that only praises people when they reach greatness. This has taught us to believe that greatness is achieved overnight. In our youth we must be tenacious in the pursuit of our purpose, because our legacy will be built upon the victories we win along the way.
Paul encouraged Timothy not to be discouraged because of his youth, but to instead walk out his calling as it had been given to him. Recently, I met a pastor in his fifties who had been pastoring for less than two years. He expressed to me how he wished that he had found his calling at my age, which left me more than grateful that God had blessed me to start my journey at such a young age. Leadership opportunity is a gift, but it is also a journey. Embrace your youth, embrace your journey.