While working with college age young adults and singles, I saw a lot of turnover as younger folks tend to move away, marry away, serve away, and even walk away from the church. This led me to invest heavily into our leader development and small group coaching.
I finally saw the movie Moneyball and I believe there are lessons screaming from the big screen for folks in Christian ministry and I recommend watching it (because nobody seems to have the patience to read anymore).
Instead of writing a witty and wordy lead-in, I present my point:
This movie seen through a ministry lens begs the question: Do we want to develop young innovators at the expense of time and even inconvenience, or do we want to exclusively buy impressive looking staff from other organizations? I’m a big fan of having a strong farm system. I attended my current church for the better part of six years as a teacher, ministry director, & intern, and for the past four years have been blessed to serve briefly first as part time staff, and now a full time pastor. I am the beneficiary of a church that bothered to look from within when hiring new staff.
I know, I know. We’ve all been burned a few times, investing in some potential leaders and it didn’t pan out. That is why I have grown to be more discerning when choosing who I will invest in. But we can’t give up on discipling our young guys just because we made poor choices before, can we? If your last protege didn’t pan out because you were so arrogant you thought you could just turn anyone in to a leader, who is to blame?
It is worth asking some tough questions… Are we strong enough at discipling our own young guys into leaders, or do we outsource that development to churches and organizations that look bigger/better/cooler than ours? Is it a better investment to spend time molding our own young church members into missionally minded leaders, or do we throw in the towel and simply poach staff from other churches by offering them a bunch of money? Do we want to use free agents on occasion to fill holes and bring in a fresh voice, or simply to “sell tickets” to keeps fans in the stands? These are important questions, are they not? If we do not ask and answer these questions ourselves, our best and brightest will answer them for us…
Moneyball. As a ministry, is it better to buy championships, or disciple our own? I’m a realist. I understand sometimes it is a great option to look outside the organization for the right fit in certain roles. But exceptions aren’t what I am talking about. I’m talking about a mindset of discipleship and developing leaders.
What do you think? Will you risk failure by investing in young potential leaders, or would you rather let some other church or organization have that risk (and reward)?