Can youth involvement in a church pay off in the future for the church and help the youth realize their full potential?
I’m not talking about the typical things that the youth do like youth ministry, Friday night movie night, weekly Sunday school, high-school retreats, summer camps, etc. All of these are good things, but what would happen if the church allowed the youth to take over Sunday service one day a month?
In other words, they lead the church in the worship service with singing, playing music, or other worship style activities. They are the ushers greeting people at the door and operating the audio visual equipment for the service. They take care of the coffee/tea bar, count the attendees to record it in the church software, or help in the church’s library. I witnessed this firsthand in a church this past Sunday and was simply amazed by the maturity the youth exhibited in front of a large audience. The common theme here is – Leadership!
Having enough youth to fill every position needed on a Sunday morning may not work in every church or denomination. In those cases an alternative plan could be created where leadership is still taught in some way. Additionally, there may be two tasks that youth may not be able to do – count/record donations and give the actual sermon (which could be done by the youth pastor).
How do the youth learn leadership if the church doesn’t teach it within its own walls?
The youth go away for college or job without life changing skills that could greatly benefit them, or if not present, be very detrimental to their future. Teaching the youth about leadership is a skill that transcends every job they will have, their relationships – including marriage, how they raise their children, and so many other areas.
Currently church leaders are asking themselves why so many youth are leaving the church. We illustrated this last year in a four part series titled “Who are the ‘Nones’?” (Part One, Two, Three, and Four) Additionally, wouldn’t involving the youth help bridge the apparent generation gap between the older and younger church members? As illustrated in the four part series many of the comments from the younger generation are perceptions (right or wrong) of the older generation that make up the church. The perceptions are
- focus too much on rules, or
- are too involved in politics, or
- are too concerned with money and power.
Let’s face facts – if the youth aren’t taught leadership skills today, they will not be tomorrow’s church leaders.
Leadership is probably one of the most important skills that a person can have. I would even say that youth with strong leadership skills are more resistant to peer pressure, and are less likely to have morality issues or low self esteem.
Very rarely is this essential skill taught in other facets of society and these young adults are left to fend for themselves when they come of age and move on. Are church leaders missing the boat in this regard?