Today I’m writing on the subject of “Make room for Timothy.”
No matter how long we’ve been in ministry, we need to make room for Timothy (or Timothea) to train for the work of God. Whatever our position or function in God’s work, whatever age we are, whatever our responsibility is, we must do what the apostle Paul did: make room for Timothy. Find and train the next generation.
Here’s why. When we start thinking about Timothy, we are thinking eternally. We are moving beyond ourselves. We are thinking about continuity of leadership and influence. We are planning for the kingdom of God, which is so much bigger than just us.
When we start thinking about Timothy, we are thinking about how much we value younger people and less experienced people. We are actually thinking like a leader. And leaders think about the future even when they themselves are still the future. We won’t make the best Timothy when we are fading away, no longer at our best. So start now!
T.I.M.O.T.H.Y. could stand for these critical words: TIME. INVESTMENT. MENTORING. OPPORTUNITY. TIME (again!). HELPING. YEARS.
It takes all of those things to mentor the next generation.
- Make room for beginners.
- Make room for mistakes.
- Make room for incompetence.
- Make room for errors.
- Make room for failure.
- Make room for growth.
- Make room for learning.
- Make room for training.
- Make room for teaching – one on one.
- Make room for coaching.
Teach someone everything you know and they may actually turn out better than you.
Timothy’s are not made in the classroom. They are made by living our lives with them, as Paul did with his Timothy. They are made in the walking, the talking, the sitting across a desk or around a table from us.
Timothy’s don’t usually come knocking on our doors asking if they can follow us. If they did, we’d think, “What kind of nut case is this kid? They want to hang around with me and consume my time. I don’t have time for that.”
Really? Time is exactly what a Timothy needs. It is the best gift we can give anyone. Only with long hours, days, years spent pouring our lives into them will the Timothy’s “catch” our spirit and know what we are really all about.
I’m writing this feeling some sense of failure about the Timothy’s I’ve raised up. I have spent decades, and literally thousands of hours with the younger generation. I have talked and listened, and coached and encouraged, but I don’t think I’ve done enough and I don’t think I started soon enough. Some of my Timothy’s were trained simply because I needed help, not because I really had a vision for them, and that was a mistake.
How do we find a Timothy or a Timothea?
- Look for heart. Watch for a person who has a heart for God. You never know what treasure you may discover.
- Don’t look for a leader already made; look for a heart already made. That person you can shape into a leader.
People are our greatest asset. Building people is building God’s most loved creation.
Here’s the process:
- Search. Again, look for the heart and the call. Don’t search for talent or perfection. You can do the qualifying as you train and mentor.
- Commit. You have to make the commitment to reproduce yourself.
- Foundations. You have to do the imparting of your own life foundation.
- Vision casting. You have to do the envisioning- show them what you see for the future.
- Share power. You must gradually allow the Timothy’s to take over. Delegate to them with accountability.
I say to every pastor, Christian leader and church worker. Get yourself a Timothy. Reproduce yourself. Build for the future. Make a disciple for God that will outlast you!