Tag Archive - freshman

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Why your Church should Play more Freshmen

Some of you know that I have what some may say is a bit of an unhealthy obsession with College Football (really hoping the Gators can begin to turn things around this year). Right now teams around the country are practicing and preparing for the start of the season, and Coaches are watching the players on the practice field and identifying who their starters are going to be.

In light of that I recently heard Charlie Strong, the Head Coach of the Texas, Longhorns and former longtime Defensive Coordinator of the Florida, Gators say to the veteran players on the team that when it comes to position battles the tie is going to go to the freshmen. In other words, if a veteran (Sr. player and incumbent starter) is tied with a freshman when it comes to talent and performance the Freshman is going to play not the Sr.

Sound harsh? I think there’s a lot that the church can learn from Coach Strong when it comes to recruiting and developing young leaders. And the future of the church may depend on it.

1. Talent Development

Talent isn’t developed in the locker-room; it’s developed on the practice field. You don’t learn leadership is a classroom, you learn it through leading. Young leaders need to develop into experienced leaders, and the only way that is going to happen is if you take a risk and play them and coach them.

2. They ask “Why?”

Everyone knows that young talent isn’t experienced or seasoned talent. They’re not going to bring a wealth of experience and ideas to the table. But what they are going to bring is a new way of thinking. They don’t know why you do things the way you do things and so they’re going to challenge the way you do things and make you think differently about the way you do things (try saying that 5 times fast). When you begin to answer their challenges and talk through the way you do things, it’s going to naturally provide you the opportunity to improve upon how you do things.

3. Freshmen are the Future

This may sound harsh, but it’s true. Freshmen are about the future and what’s going to happen. Sr.’s are about the past and what already happened. Now we all know that great teams have both freshmen and Sr.’s but when there’s a tie do you defer to the incumbent player or the new player? Maybe it’s time to start deferring to the freshmen?

4. Recruiting new Talent

Your church, like a lot of churches, may be struggling with attracting and keeping young leaders. Here’s a simple solution (not an easy solution). New recruits want to go where they’re going to get the chance to get on the field and play early. If you show that you’re not afraid to allow young leaders to lead then guess what? You’ll attract more young leaders!


Posted in Leadership

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The Freshmen Get Smaller Every Year

I took a trip down memory lane this weekend. I spent some time back east consulting with a great church in my hometown of Stafford, VA. It’s been 20 years since the last time I was in Stafford. And while I was there I took a minute to drive around a bit; and let me tell you a lot has changed in 20 years! I felt like I could get lost in my own hometown! I went by the house I grew up in and even past the High School I graduated from. First thing that came into my mind? “I remember my High School being a lot bigger than that.” And then another thought raced into my mind. It was a statement from a conversation that I had with Larry Osborne when he said to me, “The freshmen get smaller every year.” In other words every year there is a new freshman class. Every year as you get older they seem to get smaller, weirder, and more clueless. And somehow the older you get the more it seems you were never that small, that weird, or that clueless. But you and I know better, don’t we?

The best leaders I’ve ever been around know there’s great value in hanging out with the “freshmen.” In fact here are a couple of things I’ve seen some great seasoned leaders do over the years to invest in the next generation leaders.

1. Surround yourself with Young Talent

Not so they can admire how experienced and how incredible you are. You don’t need groupies. But so you can invest in them. Spend time with them, let them ask questions and simply talk about leadership. Let them see you lead up close and personal. And then debrief with them about what you did and why. Share with them your greatest leadership struggles, challenges, failures and successes.

2. How Young Can you go with your Next Hire?

When you are getting ready to make that next hire ask yourself, “How young can we go with this hire and not jeopardize the job that needs to get done?” It’s a simple question that will force you to think differently about bringing young talent onto the team. And frankly, it’s a question that I wish I started asking a long time ago.

3. Invite Young Talent to the Adult Table

Thanksgiving was just a couple of weeks ago. And if your house is similar to mine you had a kids table and an adult table. In leadership the same is often true. One of the most simple and overlooked opportunities to develop young talent is to periodically invite young talent to the adult table. Let them sit in Sr. Leadership meetings and see how the top leaders in your organization or church think, problem solve, interact with one another, make decisions and well, lead. This kind of access is an incredible gift to a young up an coming leader.

4. Remember to Tell Yourself the Truth

No matter how good you were as a young leader, you weren’t as good as you remember yourself being, you just weren’t. And neither was I. The further you and I get away from being a young leader the more we think, “I was never that small, I was never that weird, I was never that clueless.” Tell yourself the truth and instead of criticizing the freshmen why don’t you choose to hang out with them and invest in them?

Photo Credit: Russ Allison Loar via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Staffing