It takes a shift from tenure to training.
I was still a fairly new believer when I went to my first membership meeting at the church that I grew up in. I don’t remember a lot about it other than the fact that I was bored to tears, right up until the point that I had to choke back fits of laughter. One lady who was probably in her early eighties begun to talk about the fact that she considered the man who was going to become the new church secretary too young and inexperienced for the role. At that time I didn’t recognize the name and so I assumed she was talking about someone in their early twenties, that was at least until the Pastor called the individual in question up to the front to speak about why he considered himself qualified. It turned out that he was in his mid-sixties! Apparently she didn’t believe that the forty plus years that this “young man” had been in the church was quite long enough for the position.
Okay, so that’s probably a bit of an extreme example, but the fact is that sometimes what we consider to be leadership development is really just showing up for long enough. Don’t wait until someone in your church reaches some magic age to begin investing in them. We need to stop looking at the twenty year old's in our church as part of the church tomorrow and recognize that God has placed them in the church today!
Leadership development in the church, for that matter in any organization must be centered around intentional equipping and training, not on just showing up for long enough!
Reflect: What unwritten rules do you have about who can serve in leadership? Are they legitimate?