David was featured on the unSeminary podcast. He talked with Rich Birch about a system for training and releasing next generation leaders. If you don’t know UnSeminary yet, dive into their website for rich information on “stuff you wish they taught in seminary.”
Read Rich’s overview of the time together:
EvFree Fullerton is a historic church where Chuck Swindoll once pastored. As he became well known, more people came to the church to hear him speak and so EvFree grew. Chuck moved on to other ministry opportunities, but the church continued to prosper and has had great pastors over the years. One of the things, however, that they have maintained a passion for is learning how to give ministry away and empower the next generation to lead. David is here to talk with us about how they do that at EvFree Fullerton—the challenges as well as the rewards.
- Keep Jesus in the front seat. While organizations like XPastor have a wealth of information for executive pastors and EvFree Fullerton is actively training and mentoring the next generation of ministry leaders, David says that is not what defines success. “Success is not that everybody goes into vocational Christian ministry,” he says. “Success is that Jesus remains in the front seat, the driver’s seat of the car, and that they decide not to put Jesus in the backseat as just a ride-along for the rest of their life.”
- Be ready to say good-bye. David knows starting out that the next group of students they’re training will only be with them for a short time. About one third remain at EvFree Fullerton for about four years to receive their training and find their fit in ministry. It can be difficult to put so much work into these young people and then send them out on their own, but David says that is the goal, to send this new generation out into the world. “It’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot of hard work, it’s a lot of investment,” David says, “but I think the person who grows the most is me.”
- Align your budget and vision. If your church wants to take on the process of training up the next generation of ministry leaders, David recommends that you have your budget and vision in mind before you begin. Know how much your church can spend on hiring these short term staff along with how much you’re already spending on long term staff. Let your long term staff know that they are valued, even if you don’t have as many long term staff members as you once did. However, part of their role is to mentor the next generation and prepare them for ministry. “You have to say, ‘Hey, here is the amount of ministry dollars that we may never see great fruit on,” David says. “But it’s not about the work, it’s about the training.” You can get a lot of great stuff from these people, but their best years may be somewhere else.