Ann and I have pastored in Jerusalem for 30 years. We co-founded King of Kings in 1983, and five years later I became the lead pastor, at age 35. You can do the math.
If I could live it over again, I’d do some things VERY differently…
1. I wouldn’t be so hung up on my biological age
For some strange reason I thought I was too young to be the lead guy. I was no spring chicken, but in my head, I was 21. I would actually get external feedback to confirm my illusion; many thought I was ten years younger (and still do).
As long as you feel too young to lead you’re going to be tentative — in casting vision, and tentative about persuading others to join you on the journey, especially when they’re older than you.
I was that guy.
25 years later I shout our vision from the housetops and actively recruit others to join the team.
Today I’m older in body and more self-aware. And lately, I’ve reflected back and wondering why I didn’t take the scriptures more seriously — and follow in the footsteps of young leaders who knew their God and did exploits.
I think of young adults who were probably much younger than me that God chose for leadership responsibilities bigger than mine — David, Esther, Daniel, to name a few. And then there’s King Josiah who ascends to the throne at age 8!
I identify with Timothy. Paul writes to this ‘young’ lead pastor: “Let no one despise your youth.” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Most scholars think Timothy was already in his 30’s or 40’s. But my sense is, Timothy had a warped concept of age, like I did.
Timothy’s hangup about his youth was probably a major cause for his lack of boldness in leadership. Paul, sensing Timothy’s timidity, exhorts him saying, “I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear….” (1 Timothy 1:1-3).
“The fear of man brings a snare.” (Proverbs 29:25) To be honest, my hangup about my youth snared me. And it’s taken me many years to break free and take bolder steps in leadership.
O, if I only I could do it all over again….
My next blog post? The second thing I’d do very differently … Delegate More!
Did you ever have a hangup about your age? Did it hold you back from reaching your full potential as a leader? Have you found ways to break free? Tell me about it. I’m sure your experience will be an encouragement to me and many others.