Linda, my wife, was recently going through a coaching workbook she had been reading a few years ago and noticed her hand-written note in the margin, “I have been so used to being the ‘fed leader,’ now I am the ‘lead feeder.’” A second note in the margin read, “Ada, your death…has caused us to rise up.”

Ada with roseAda Hostetler was a mentor and coach to my wife. Beginning as Linda’s cabin counselor at age 12 while at summer camp near Kidron, Ohio, Ada invested in Linda’s success as a girl, and later as a young woman, a mother and a leader. Some 43 years, later when my wife was 55, Ada ended her life-to-life investment in Linda at age 90. The final 23 years, they served alongside each other in ministry together as core members of a church plant in Cape Coral, FL.Dennis Linda Tony Ada

Ada invested in many young girls and women over the years because she was a true coach—an expert at helping others shine. Her personal success was found in releasing others to succeed. At Ada’s death, Linda realized that she was now called to be more than a leader who was looking for the next feeding and coaching experience from the older generation. Linda recognized her role as a 50 something adult was to now be a leader who feeds others who are in the generation below her.

Ada Xmas DayNow my wife is empowering the lives of young women in their 20’s and 30’s to succeed as moms, wives and leaders. She’s finding joy in helping others succeed. Linda’s taking all the things she learned from Ada and inspiring the next generation to transformissonal living.

The Bible is full of stories that describe what happens when a coach or mentor speaks into the lives of ordinary people, devoting time especially to those who show leadership potential. The short list includes: Moses with Joshua; Jesus with Peter; Barnabas with Paul; and Paul with Timothy.

You have something to offer the generation under you. You just need to have a mindset of fostering development and growth in the generation after you. I know some older folks who only lament or criticize the lack of certain values in the younger generation. Instead, what if every one of us made an effort to pour into one or more persons from a generation or two below us? We might just change our world, one life at a time. Maybe it’s time to become the lead feeder and not just the fed leader.


QUESTION: What are some ways you are investing in the next generation? Please share in the Comment section below. Thanks!

5 responses to Fed Leader or Lead Feeder?

  1. Donna Christner on February 3, 2013 at 3:22 PM Reply

    wow I love this concept of lead feeder. I to have had wonderful mentors pour into my life. I have felt the same as Linda and have prayed for a ministry of this kind. God answered my prayer and brought an old friend back into my life to invite to join a single Moms ministry called GRIP. (God raising incredible parents.) we have a first faith based ministry that has been approved by the 12th circuit judicial court so we can go into prisons with the courts blessing to teach a spiritually based parenting class to women who have lost their children mostly through addiction. How thankful I am that God has called me in this way. What an awesome God that empowers generations to pour into the next. I am always looking for those that after they say yes to the Lord seem to have a calling of leadership. Ada is my hero now..I want to be an Ada

    • Linda Gingerich on February 3, 2013 at 5:57 PM Reply

      Donna, I love how God has given you your hearts desire! That’s our God! He has a place for all of us, in every season of our lives. Ada’s legacy goes on!!

  2. Janet on January 29, 2013 at 3:46 PM Reply

    Working on helping my sisters daughter as she makes her way without her Mom…Reading this makes me realize I need to do more,Thanks

  3. Mary on January 29, 2013 at 2:08 PM Reply

    Ada was always such an encourager to me. We had several phone conversations about issues I was facing. Thanks for helping us remember Ada and encouraging us to be lead feeders.

  4. Cheryl on January 29, 2013 at 7:09 AM Reply

    Linda and you both are the best leaders and have helped so many, including me! Love you both 🙂

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