Craig Groeschel – The Strongest Link

“You are the most cause driven generation in history. You don’t just want a job. You want a calling.”

– Craig Groeschel

That quote is from the Global Leadership Summit happening today and tomorrow. I am the generation he’s talking about!! His section is so good that I’m copying it for you from Will Johnston here:


My assignment is to talk to you today about bridging the generational gap. There is very clearly a gap today not only in ministry but in the business world as well. I will speak mostly from the ministry perspective because I am a pastor, but I think you can make a jump pretty easily to the business world.

I would not be speaking to you today if it were not for those who had gone before me. I am here today because of the women and men who have gone before me and invested in me.

I ended up as a regular attender at Pastor Nick’s church. One Sunday he said next Sunday is bring a friend to church day. So I thought I’d listen to my pastor. I had just graduated from college where I had been president of my fraternity and still had some influence, so I told them we were all going to church.

Pastor Nick said if you were a friend who was brought or brought someone yourself, stand up. So me and two full rows of hungover frat boys stood up. He said, okay everyone sit down unless you brought someone. So they all sat down and I was left standing. So Nick hired me. And that’s how I was called into ministry.

Nick taught me so much. He taught me how to illustrate the Bible with the Bible. How to lead staff meetings. How to do hospital visits.

I was scared to death on my first hospital visit. I was 23. My pastor said, just say what’s on your heart. I walked in and said, “Wow, you looked bad.” My pastor said, from now on just lie for the glory of God.

He said, whenever you’re speaking and forget the next thing you’re going to say, just repeat the last thing you said and walk back to your notes. He said, just repeat the last thing you said and walk back to your notes.

I would not be doing what I am doing today if a pastor hadn’t taken a chance on a 23 year old kid.

Tragically, though, there’s not enough of that in the world, especially in the ministry world. So what I want to do is talk to the older generation and then the younger generation as someone who stands for a short period in the middle.

If you’re not dead, you’re not done. God values maturity.

You do not just delegate tasks to the next generation, because if you delegate tasks, you’ll create followers. We delegate authority, because then we create leaders.

My pastor hired me on to create a young adult ministry. I asked him how to do it, and he knew, but he told me, “That’s what I hired for you for.” Within boundaries, he gave me freedom.

To the older generation, especially in the ministry world, I would just implore you, embrace the season you’re in. They can smell a fake from a mile away. Don’t try to be cool. Authenticity trumps cool every single time. Be yourself. Care, love them. The next generation will line up for miles.

My pastor was like a pastoral father to me, and when I finally hit 40 or so, I still wanted to be the big brother to everyone. But it was when Pastor Herbert Cooper came up to me and said, “You are my spiritual father.” I said, “no, no.” And we went back and forth. And he said, “Listen to me. I need a spiritual father, and you are mine.” And he said, “And I am your black son.”

When he said it to me, something switched inside of me and I realized I can be a spiritual father to those who come after me. You can be a coach a mentor to those who are coming after you.

To those in the younger generation, let me talk to you for a moment.

You need those who come after you more than you can imagine.

Dr. Tim Elmore wrote about a survey of executives who were asked about the next generation. There was one word they used to describe them more than any other. The twenty-somethings were surprised to learn it was entitled.

Now you don’t even have to win a single game to get a trophy. We protected that generation. Put on your helmet to go potty.

Because you feel entitled, you typically overestimate what you can do in the short run. What Nick said to me was, “You’ll overestimate what you can do in the short run, but you’ll grossly underestimate what you can do through a lifetime of faithfulness.”

I asked my pastor one time, “Why did you let me lead up?” He said it was because you always honored me. Andy Stanley says honor publically yields to influence privately.

I think one reason we don’t honor those around us is because we don’t adequately honor God. Honor values others. Dishonor devalues them. Once we learn to honor God, we will begin to honor those around us.

Some people say, If my pastor, boss, etc. were honorable, maybe I’d show honor to them. Respect is earned, but honor is given. Some of you in the younger generation need to repent because you need to show honor to those above you.

If you ever want to be over, you need to honor those under you.

I want to get real practical and talk about what this looks like in my organization and what it can look like in yours.

For the generations to work together, we have to be intentional. How do you do this?

Create feedback loops between those who are older and younger. Before I teach at our church each week, I sit with those who are much older and those who are much younger. I want to know from a 22 year old single girls perspective, how does this not speak to you and how can I do better. I want to know the same thing for a 55 year old divorced man.

Create specific mentoring moments. Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit with one of the greatest business leaders in our country. I had my pencils out. A few weeks ago I sat down with the sharpest 18-24 year olds in our country. If you are not intentional, it will not happen.

Those of you who are younger, ask someone who is older, “Will you mentor me? Will you speak into my life?” They’ll be flattered. Come and ask them questions like crazy. Don’t try to copy what they do. YOu’re not them, but you can learn how they think.

Create opportunities for significant leadership development. We had what we called a developmental weekend where we wanted to develop new speakers. We said, everyone gets two services on a weekend, and in a weekend we trained 38 new speakers to deliver God’s word. No one got up there without coaching and no one got down without coaching, but it communicated our investment to the next generation.

You create those specific leadership moments where you can develop leaders who can come behind you.

To those who have come before me, I honor you with all of my heart. To those of you who are coming behind me and have served faithfully, I honor you. I honor my mom and dad who sacrificed for me. I want to honor my pastor who took a risk on a kid who knew nothing and literally told the board if you fire him I’m going too. I’m doing what I’m doing today because a man of God invested in a young kid.

Bill Hybels has taken more bullets than most of you can imagine and took them with integrity. For what he did, I honor him, and you should honor him as well.

Those of you who come behind me, I want you to know, there’s one thing I think about you. I’ve been a little hard on you, but that’s because you deserve it. But I will give my life for you because you deserve it. I believe in you more than you can imagine. You are the most cause driven generation in history. You don’t just want a job. You want a calling. When you look at the injustices in this world, you say, “No, not on my watch! I’m not okay with that!” I honestly believe you can do more than my generation can do if you will humble yourselves and learn from those above you.

– Craig Groeschel

I wish I could have been there today. Twitter and blog posts make it a little bit better though.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s