Do you build up your youth to be leaders?
I have always known that the ideal in youth ministry is to identify youth that have potential to be leaders, then to work with them, mentoring them so they can become leaders, not only in youth group, but also in the church.
But… in practice, I and other youth leaders that I work with, often do all the leading ourselves. It is less complicated, isn’t as messy, and takes less time. In the rush of our week, with work, family and other obligations, who has time to involve the youth in actually leading youth group on a Wednesday night. It is just easier to do it yourself.
However, I am convinced that this is one of the reasons young adults are leaving the church after high school. We have made them consumers, they come to youth group and take what we have to offer, but they do not have a stake in youth group or the church. So when youth group is over after high school, so is their interest in church. I know this is a very simplistic version of why young adults are leaving the church, and there are many other reasons, but I am convinced this is a major factor.
In my previous blog I talked about our Classis’ fall retreat for youth. The day before that retreat at Muskoka Woods, 32 youth and 8 leaders attended a day of leadership training for our youth. This is the second year we have done this and it has been hugely successful. One of the reasons it does succeed, is because when we send 5 youth from our church, they have to have a leader go with them. This leader had a day of training 2 weeks previously and was prepared for the day. This leader also had to commit to working with these 5 youth for the next year, building them up in their leadership skills. So far these 5 youth are excited to be part of the leadership team for youth group this year. They meet with the adult leaders to plan the year, help lead small groups, and are in charge of some of the youth group evenings.
A few weeks ago I heard Craig Groeschel speak at the Willow Creek leadership summit. He said, “Do not delegate tasks to youth, which creates followers, bur delegate authority, which creates leaders. “ When you delegate authority, you define the goal for the youth, but not the means to achieve the goal.
So lets spend the time and energy to develop youth that are leaders, not just followers.
- Are you building up leaders in your groups?
- What ways have you seen those leaders excel?