Being Culturally Relevant by Raising Leaders

by Philip Jangam

We are glad to be living in some of the most exciting and amazing times. At the same time,  however, we are facing some of the most challenging disappointments in history.

One of the biggest challenges that our generation is facing is the decay of kingdom culture and a decrease in the standards of the quality of life. We and our children and our congregations are bombarded every day with disgusting choices and failed role models.

I believe the problem is due to a lack of good role models and godly leaders in every area. I attended a leadership training at the beginning of this year that changed my approach in addressing these issues. I became convinced that the problem is because of the failure to reproduce leaders.

Let us consider the example of Moses and Joshua. Moses trained Joshua, passing the baton to Joshua, who led the people into the Promised Land.

Now, the problem was—Joshua didn’t have a “Joshua.” As far as we can tell from the reading of the Pentateuch and other contemporary writings, Joshua never duplicated the gift Moses had given him. He never took a young leader under his wing and prepared him to lead. Sadly, when Joshua died, Israel entered the worst period of her history—the period of the Judges—where they experienced chaos. We read these words twice in the Book of Judges:

“And there was no king in Israel in those days and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

As we ponder today about changing the culture we live in, our first consideration must be in developing next generation leaders.

Our mandate is to make disciples. Jesus commanded us to make disciples. Leaders are carriers of the culture. I believe we must be biased towards leader development. Unless we are, we’ll take the easy route and focus on our tasks at hand. The “urgent” will replace the “ultimate.” Dwight Moody once said, “It’s better to train a hundred men than to do the work of a hundred men.” The training is harder.

Making an influence on the next generation leadership is strongly correlated with a personal investment of time.

Jesus modeled it through the stories we learn from the Samaritan woman, Zacchaeus, the man at the pool, and his disciples. Paul invested time in raising up Timothy.

The next generation glances our way in hope and expectation, hands outstretched, poised to burst into the sprint of life. How will we pass the baton with so much at stake?

Intentionally passing the baton to the next generation is the single most important thing we must do now. If we get this right, everything else will take care of itself. In a relay race, the responsibility for passing the baton falls to the one who is carrying it. This is our day! An entire generation is looking to us.

Philip Jangam is pastor of Acts World Outreach Church in Toronto, Canada and the FCA Regional Coordinator of GTA Central, Toronto, Canada.