Recently, Holiness Today sat down with David McClung, a layperson with a diverse background of leadership roles in his personal life and in the Church of the Nazarene. He has served the church at every level, from board member to Investment Committee member, college president, and in countless other ways. As he winds up his lay service, we asked him about handing off the torch to a younger generation of church leaders.
HT: You have served on numerous boards and committees at all levels in the Church of the Nazarene. How have those experiences affected you?
DM: These opportunities have been very rewarding for me, and for my family. Primarily, in that they gave me stories and opportunities to meet people of interest and influence.
HT: How can we invest in younger people and help develop their leadership abilities?
DM: For those of us who have served in leadership roles, we need to be mindful of stepping aside to make room for younger people and in doing so, mentor them.
HT: Do we risk losing that valuable 'brain trust' when mature leaders step away from their long-held positions?
DM: Not if we are mentoring properly. Through that process, we can share our experiences and the elements of what has worked and what may have failed.
But mentoring is about listening, too. And younger adults have much to share. They have a unique set of viewpoints, connections with others, and we need their insights.
HT: What about bringing diversity into leadership tracks?
DM: When I was president of Eastern Nazarene College we sought for ethnic diversity. Having diversity is more than giving people a seat at the table: it's giving people the opportunities to share their backgrounds and cultures, all of which are necessary if we are to be a global church. Committees and boards should reflect the diversity of the Church of the Nazarene membership.
HT: So if we don't make room for younger leaders, what may be the result?
DM: They bring more buy-in.
DM: The future of the church depends on the younger generation accepting responsibility for the church and its future.
HT: What are some ways we can deal with the hand-off of management?
DM: One way is to vacate long-held positions so that younger people can be elected or appointed. I would suggest creating term limits on many of our boards and committees.
If younger people know there will be positions for them to serve, they will be more likely to prepare for those positions.
Holiness Today, 2013