i had previously posted about the crisis of leadership that the immigrant church faces with regards to losing second gen leaders. i think this article orginally published in the gospel herald (from the L2 foundation blog) a month before the la times article spells out the real crisis of leadership. while the recent article points to the dearth of new leaders, the gospel herald article calls the immigrant church out. i very much appreciate rev. jeffrey lee of gointnl beckoning first gen leaders to be humble and support the second gen to serve God.
Furthermore, first generation church leaders tend to have unreasonablely high expectation for the second generation ministers. Due to language barrier, the first generation church leaders cannot communicate well with them to point out their problems and give guidance. Church members also do not respect the young leaders very well.
Lee suggested that understanding of other church members and mentorship by the senior first generation church leaders are the two important keys to resolve conflicts.
Parents should be able to appreciate the heart of serving of these young second generation ministers, teaching their children to learn to love God from the role model, Lee said. First generation church leaders must understand that the second generation ministers grow up in a very different culture. and try to adapt to their ways of doing things. They must also embrace the insufficiencies of the young ministers.
Lee explained how mentorship is important to support second generation ministers. First generation church leaders and members must take imitative to show concern to them. Building up a close mentorship network enhances communication so that they can understand each other better and to avoid conflicts. Young ministers can also receive guidance and advices.
“Chinese churches with dominantly first generation immigrants should become humble and support the second generations to serve God. By fulfilling God’s will, we glorify God and benefit many people on this world. The number of second generations that are willing to dedicate in serving is very few, so they are very precious. We must encourage them, understand them with patience, so that they can keep their heart firm to love God and serve God,” Lee concluded.
i had commented on the L2 Foundation blog with this:
This is the real crisis of leadership. I’m thankful Rev. Lee beckons first gen leaders to become humble and support second gen leaders to serve God. Isn’t humility is a must for pastoral leadership regardless of generation? The opinions that each generation have of each other must change. However, second generation leaders often by default are stuck in the position of having to earn trust because they are considered young. Trust is pivotal for church leadership and growth. Whether it’s the first or second generation someone has to make the first move towards a real relationship. I think many times it feels unnatural for young second gen leaders to take the lead to go to first gen leaders in pursuit of building a relationship and make things work. This context of ministry is usually one of severe perseverence, not just for facing the refular demands of ministry but having to face this tension. While God does refine young leaders through that process, I don’t think it’s healthy. It is a failure of leadership and responsible discipleship. We need first gen leaders to be like loving fathers who don’t just tell us what to do but look upon us with eyes full of grace and trust that the Gospel is able to change us.
young leaders struggle with which direction to move in. stay or go?
i think it boils down to an issue of leadership. it’s a personal crisis of leadership. it puts in view the leadership of the immigrant church. is there room to lead? how do we lead?
paul chou shares his view to encourage young leaders on a previous entry in the L2 Foundation blog:
I constantly pray for them with the hope that they would step and start to consider to “plant or to start NEW Asian American churches” to serve their generation. Why continue to manage “pain” and “frustration”?
please chime in.