Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The 3 biggest challenges facing the Salvation Army
Here was a gentleman, who really isn’t that far off retirement, who was saying something that had just seconds before come out of my mouth. When it came out of my mouth, it sounded like the visions of youthful enthusiasm. When it came out of his mouth, it sounded like the realisation of a man who had the experience to know what he was talking about.
The Salvation Army has always recognised the potential of the young people within its ranks. The challenge today is harnessing that potential and mobilising our young people into responsible leadership.
Young people need to be mobilised in leadership, but they also need to be mentored and have leadership actively modelled to them by older more experienced leaders.
The problem with young people is that we tend to think we know best. We are very good at pointing out what others are doing wrong (just ask any school student about their principal). But put us in charge and we can easily look like a fish out of water. I know from my own experience that it is easy to have ideas about what we want to see happen, but trying to put them into action is another thing all together.
The positives of engaging young people in leadership are self evident. They are passionate, energetic and have some great ideas. Most importantly of all however is that the young leaders of today will be the older leaders of tomorrow and if they aren’t developed then we are in trouble.
As my chat with my friend showed, alot of the time old people do ‘get it’, if we actually take the time to talk to them.
As I have already said, I think that the challenge for the Salvation Army is in providing leadership for our young leaders. Older heads are needed to provide encouragement and critique for the younger leaders. Older heads are needed to provide the framework within which young leaders can thrive. Older heads are needed to assist young leaders in getting on with it.
The wisdom and experience that comes from those who have been there before is invaluable in the development of those who are yet to go there.
The danger for the Salvation Army is that those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it.
That is where the older head should be available to help us learn from our mistake.
Rather than saying "I stuffed up, I won't do that again" perhaps an older head will help us see that what we did was make a mistake that stuffed up an other wise great idea.
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