Reaching The Next Generation – 6 Things Only A Senior Pastor Can Do

How senior pastors can help in reaching the next generation of church leaders.

Orange Blog Rob CizekThursday (10/13) registration opens for the Orange Conference 2017. For that one day only, tickets are the cheapest they’ll ever be. I’ve been to the Orange Conference several times and highly recommend it for Children’s, Student and Family Ministry pastors/team. I also recommend reThink Leadership (held at the same time) for senior pastors. I’ll be in Atlanta this year and hope to see you there!


Each of us is going to leave our church someday. Are you preparing to replace yourself? Are you investing in young people so they have opportunities to lead?

During this fall’s Orange Tour, Geoff Surratt is teaching senior pastors how best to support young leaders . . . by doing things only a senior pastor can do.

1. Act like a cheerleader.  Senior pastors help champion the NextGen ministries. What is important to the senior pastor gets done at the church.

2. Budget like a middle-schooler.  Senior pastors should fight for the next generation budget.

3. Swim in the kiddie pool. Senior pastors provide invaluable help when they show up in the NextGen environments. Two reasons . . . They experience what volunteers and kids experience and it shows high-level support for NextGen ministries.

4. Invite the kids to the adult table. Involve NextGen people in weekend services.

5. Monkey with the scoreboard. Change the metrics. Evaluate NextGen ministry by its impact on families. Are we seeing a change in families because of NextGen ministries? Are families in the community being helped? Are the stats in our county betting better because of us? How can we expand NextGen beyond Sunday’s? How are we partnering with parents Monday-Saturday?

6. Color it Orange. Weave family strategy into fabric of the church. Orange is a strategy not a curriculum.

Geoff Surratt

Geoff Surratt (courtesy of

The six points above apply directly to senior pastors. But what if you’re not a senior leader? Geoff has these recommendations:

> Lead up. Share stories. Make sure the senior pastor knows what life change is happening in ministry.


> Invite them in.  Bring the senior pastor in for the good stuff and the shorter stuff. Give the senior pastor an out after 10 minutes (“We love that you are here, but I know you have to go…)

> Connect the dots. Help your senior pastor see how NextGen ministry supports the efforts of the church’s vision and direction.

> Senior pastors need pictures. Provide photos/videos that your senior pastor can show during services or in social media.

Finally, Geoff had some great quotes in his Orange Tour session:

Millennials are looking for a place to LEAD, not just be part. – @GeoffSurratt

I’m 54. The 8 year old girl at my church is more important because she is going to be around a lot longer. – @GeoffSurratt

Where your non-operating budget dollars go is what’s important int to your church. @GeoffSurratt

If you want to know what someone’s priorities are, look at their bank statement. @GeoffSurratt

What’s important to the senior pastor is what gets done at the church. (Choose to champion important things). – @GeoffSurratt

You can get more great leadership wisdom from Geoff at

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