Many ask the question, “Where will we find leaders for the future?” but as important is the question, “How will we develop those leaders?” Of course, this is only partially the responsibility of those in leadership roles today. The work of leadership development is largely accomplished by the individual as he or she accepts responsibility, engages in ministry, and learns from the experience. We can provide encouragement and resources. That’s where Andy Stanley’s book, Next Generation Leader, comes in.
Stanley identifies five characteristics that mark the woman or man who will shape the future: courage, clarity, competence, coachability, competence, and character. Courage helps a person to harness his or her fears. Clarity empowers one to leverage uncertainty in a situation. Competence comes from discovering and playing to one’s strengths. Coachability allows one to engage a leadership coach and learn from that relationship. Character assures that one will maintain moral authority.
Each characteristic is explained and the author provides examples and lessons (often from painful missteps) from his ministry. Stanley is a leader who has learned from his own experiences and generously shares this learning with others. Although I especially respond positively to his comments about character, competence, and coaching, each of the characteristics he identifies is necessary for a person to become an effective leader.
Originally published in 2003, Stanley’s book is still relevant. Although written prior to the days when he acknowledged the role of women as ministry leaders, the concepts will be helpful to all leaders—men and women, laity and clergy.