Who wants to run the place?

Thus saith The Barna Group:

One of the reasons that many twentysomethings struggle to find their place in churches is that many young people may feel overlooked as potential leaders. The study showed that just 4% of young adults currently serve as a lay leader at their church; only 12% have been a leader at any time in the past two years. Older adults are three to four times more likely to serve as church leaders. The age group with the greatest number of church leaders are those in their 50s.

How often in the corporate world would / should you really expect the twenty-somethings to be running the place? In the last decade or so that's sometimes been the case in the high-tech industry, but I would call that an anomaly rather than the norm. Experience isn't the sole determining factor but at the same time I tend to think that it's an important one.

... Despite that, young people do not lack confidence in their leadership capabilities. The study showed that people in their 20s and early 30s are actually more likely than are older adults to think of themselves as leaders - and they are much more likely than mature generations to want additional training to become better leaders. Yet, young leaders were also the least aware of any leadership training opportunities provided by their congregation. Nevertheless, young leaders are a challenging target for leadership preparation since they are busy, skeptical of churches, and often unwilling to commit to such development, especially to classroom-style training without hands-on leadership opportunities. The research points out that mentoring is the most appealing form of leadership development for young adults.

Sounds like what you'd get from an education with a strong emphasis on self-esteem - people who think that they can do things whether or not they're actually good candidates.

In wonderfully ironic fashion the Barna Report notes both that twenty-somethings are "much more likely than mature generations to want additional training to become better leaders", while at the same time they are "often unwilling to commit to such development".

(Note that I do say all this as part of the "twenty-something" crowd)


Experience is definitely important, though I still think some people in the twenty-something and thirty-something crowd are capable. I think the second biggest factor after age is marital status; single guys are usually not even considered for certain positions.

With regards to leadership training, I can't say that I've seen anything like this in our churches. Maybe this is something that needs to be explored?

I don't think that you can expect to have people magically develop the ability to lead once they reach a particular age. Thus I'd have to agree that probably some twenty-somethings should be placed in some sort of leadership capacity.