Episode 98: Seeing Leaders Through Part 1
One of the perpetual questions in ministry is around bringing up and developing new leaders, particularly when it comes to the next generation of young leaders. How can you engage with them and invest in them, even if they end up just passing through your ministry on their way to something else? Mingo Palacios, Angie White, and Robert Cortes sit down to discuss their personal experiences with this issue in this two-part conversation.
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About Episode 98
This two-part conversation is all about how to see leaders through your ministry. Mingo explains that some people will be called to your church, while others will be called through it and ultimately move on to another calling. Recognizing this reality, “What do you do with those relationships with people who are called to your ministry, and how do you manage those ‘through’ experiences when you’re seeing leaders through?”
It’s not always an easy question, but Angie White, an emerging leader with experience in young adult and women’s ministry who is now preparing to launch a new service at her church, believes that one important aspect is “the people who are leading the leaders, the ones who are discipling.” A good leader, she says, is someone who has been well-discipled and well-mentored themselves.
Angie recalls her own experiences in being mentored. Several years ago she approached her college pastor with a desire to serve in the new college ministry he was launching. She says he spent a lot of time getting to know her and building a good relationship, and he also held her accountable both to her responsibilities and in her walk with God. Whenever she strayed from the path, her pastor and his wife were there for her and reached out with compassion to help her get back on track. “After that, I felt so loved – and it was hard, because he had to come down and be like, ‘This isn’t okay, what you’re doing.’ It was really hard to hear.”
But knowing that she was supported in this way ultimately helped Angie launch her college’s first ministry conference. She emphasizes that one of the most important aspects was being held accountable. “I think that’s so key for raising up leaders,” she says.
Mingo believes that you can view people who are leaving your ministry to pursue another calling as an opportunity for spiritual and personal growth. In the past, if he invested time and effort into helping someone grow and then offered them a position within his church, only to have them decline in favor of another opportunity, it was hard not to take it personally – until one day his mentor spoke some words of wisdom.
“My mentor said, ‘You need to be a better leader. If people are choosing another circle or another team, it’s because they see something in that team that you maybe don’t have yet or you’re not offering or you’re unable to offer. Be a better leader and people stay with you.’” Mingo said the words struck him and it was “instantly a chance for me to examine myself, how I lead, who I lead, the way I present leadership opportunities, and ask the question, am I leading like Jesus?”
When Mingo himself transitioned out of Saddleback Church into his new lead pastor position, he was astonished that his exit was celebrated and supported just as much as his entrance had been. “They said, ‘What can we give you? Here’s everything we’ve got. You always have a line open to us.’ And it was true. It was real… I was given as much as I had when I was on their team as when I stepped off their team. They kept the door open.”
It was an impactful reminder for him that mature leadership means celebrating and supporting those young leaders who move on to another opportunity. “I have to be just as encouraging, just as believing, just as behind them, and keep that door, keep that relationship on their way out as much as I welcomed them on the way in.” Mingo hopes to see more of this type of support from churches.
Robert adds his own wisdom about the importance of building relationships and seeing leaders through. Because he and Mingo built a strong friendship during Robert’s time at Impact 195 (now the Rock Church School of Ministry), he was instantly willing to follow Mingo to his next position. “My loyalties are I follow leaders,” he says. “I follow people. I don’t follow programs or buildings. I follow the people who’ve invested in me and I’ve invested in them. I think it boils down to the relationship, really.”
Mingo concludes Part 1 of this conversation by reiterating the value of investing in young people and letting God use you to speak into their lives, without expecting anything in return: “I think it’s a rhythm that I’ve not seen a lot of pastors do, where they invest keenly in a person, no strings attached, because they see that God has written big dreams and big capacity inside of somebody. Maybe God’s going to use me as a part of that person’s clarity for what’s next in their world, even if it doesn’t pay dividends back into my ministry.”