Recently I asked a successful pastor in his fifties who pastors a large church in the Midwest what leadership lessons he had learned recently. His answer was interesting and I think relevant in many situations. He said, "I am learning the need to allow younger leaders to lead, to not get in their way, and to give them the freedom to do things the way they want to do them."
I believe his answer applies to churches, missions and other ministries. It is often difficult for leaders in their latter years to release leaders in their young years because younger leaders will often approach ministry and strategy differently than those of us in our fifties (me included).
He made an interesting observation: "It is easy to try to control these young leaders but it is counterproductive." I agree. When we bring young leaders onto our teams we must release them as we release all others to use their gifts in line with their wiring to accomplish what we have asked them to accomplish. They will challenge our methodology and paradigms and they will help us become all that we can be.
Key to releasing others is a secure leader who is not threatened by other good people who may well have ideas that are better than theirs. That takes a very non defensive attitude and humility. But again, it is not about us but about God and the building of his kingdom.
If you are a leader in your fifties and sixties and have younger leaders on your staff you may want to have a candid dialogue with your younger leaders and find out how free they feel, how empowered they feel. Often we don't realize that we are not truly releasing others fully. The more we do, the stronger our ministries will be - and the better leaders we are.