In Elijah’s darkest time, in a cave, full of fear and anxiety, God spoke to him of a younger man named Elisha, whom he was to find, build, and release as a new breed of leader over Israel (1 Kings 18-19). It would be under the tutelage of Elijah that God would raise up a new kind of prophet for his generation.
I believe God is calling forth such leaders in our generation. It is my growing conviction that the most important aspect of getting older in leadership is to be on the lookout for new, younger, up-and-coming leaders.
I have often wondered what Elisha was thinking when he asked of his mentor, Elijah, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me” (2 Kings 2:9). Was it arrogance? Was it ambition? Was it truly a desire to do what Elijah did, except more so? The Bible is clear. God had placed a holy passion in Elisha for the “mantle” of leadership in Elijah; but he didn’t want just the anointing of Elijah, he wanted more.
God loves passion and zeal. His Son exhibited perfect zeal. It was said of Jesus as He cleaned out the Temple, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up” (John 2:17). Zeal, passion, ambition, desire, or any other adjective we may use describes the kind of leaders whom God can use.
Jesus made an astounding statement, “Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). Jesus is speaking of even more than a double anointing! Amazing promise.
I have found in my leadership that success is less about ability and more about zeal. I’m looking for zealous young leaders.
Our Ceiling, Their Floor
I believe God is calling us who are currently in leadership to be paving the way for a new breed of younger leaders to emerge. I want my ceiling to be their floor. I want my exploits to push them into great exploits. I want my achievements to be the stepping stones for them to climb higher, lead more, and break out into new heights for God!
As I see it, there must be a transition in our heart from warrior to sage. I think this is the mindset change we observe in Elijah (see my last blog). This is the transition we see in Jesus from doing the ministry alone to equipping and sending his twelve disciples out (note the transition from Matthew 1-9 to Matthew 10 onward). This is the paradigm of Paul in raising up Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Titus, and Tertius.
These are exciting but dangerous times. God is calling out the Church to be courageous in leadership development. God is calling out the Church to look for, encourage, equip, and release a new breed of young leaders. They will have a double portion of the Holy Spirit. They will exceed us in their exploits. May we love and equip them with anticipation and expectation.