What you need to say to younger leaders.

By Josh Ott

This was never my dream for my life – this thing we call pastoring, leading in a church.

I’m a pastor’s kid who grew up in a really good EFCA church, a pastor’s kid who had amazing parents who demonstrated their love for Jesus and their love for their kids every day.

But despite the good church, despite the fantastic parents, I still ended up wounded by that church – by having a front row seat to all the stuff that gets twisted up in and becomes a part of this thing we’re doing, which is leading God’s people in various positions in the church.

Because of those wounds, I wanted the opposite of this for my life. Eventually, I became keenly aware that while it wasn’t my dream, it was my call. It didn’t matter if I was afraid. It didn’t matter what my rationale was for not taking the call, if I wanted to follow and trust God, I was going to have to follow this path in spite of my fears.

Because I need to tell you, sometimes all I see is a slippery slope. You know this to be true in ministry, right?

Sometimes you look around and you’re like, whoah, what did I just get myself in to?

I see a slippery slope over here.

I see a thorny path over there.

And all I hear is people taunting me. All I hear is the enemy saying lies about me and ridiculing me.

All I see and all I hear is hard and painful.

I’m so grateful that in such moments, I have heard my dad, who has served 33 years in the Evangelical Free Church as a lead pastor, say “Whatever it is you need to do, I’m with you heart and soul.”

What you should say to younger leaders, too:

I cannot express how much the young leaders in this room need to hear that. They cant do it if they’re not hearing it.

We need wisdom. We need insight.

We need people to say, “I know that’s all you see and I know that’s all you hear. I’m with you heart and soul. Let’s climb this cliff together.”

I’m so thankful there have been people time in and time out, even when I’ve tried to hold them away, who have pushed my stiff arm aside and said, “I am with you. I know it’s scary. I know you’re afraid.”

I am so thankful for people who have said we will climb this together. I’m right behind you heart and soul. 

I need that. We need that. 

We need to be Jonathan – fearless to step out.

And we need to be his armor bearer – willing to carry and support and love those who go before us.  

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Joshua Ott
Josh Ott is lead pastor at Grace Free Church in Cressona, PA. He is also a speaker, coach and creator of the The Speaking Course for Pastors, Speakers and Church Leaders.

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