Remember, according to our Indigenous Leadership Research Project there are 3 main factors that help an urban teen transition from growing spiritual into living a ministry lifestyle.  The first one, developing relationships with true Mentors was discussed in detail here.  Now we are going to discuss the next factor: urban youth need access and be invited to participate in Leadership Opportunities.

Creating Leadership Opportunities
A factor that greatly influenced an urban young person toward ministry leadership was simply inviting them to take leadership roles in ministry.   We discovered these leadership roles didn’t have to be significant: they could be setting up for a program, serving in a week of children’s church or running a game at an outreach program.  In taking on some sort of ministry responsibilities the lessons learned were invaluable.  Young people learned from their failures, gaining a servant’s attitude in leadership, discovered their gifts, abilities and talents, identified what they did well and where they needed strengthening.  The lessons our interviewees learned were varied and many but they all discovered is this truth: they have much to offer to world through spiritual leadership.  Urban youth discovered they were not punks or losers, but could be incrementally entrusted to lead others.

Think of Jesus’ invitation to lead in Matthew 4:19, "Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men."

Questions to Consider

  • Does your ministry team invite young people to take leadership roles?  Sometimes we can be so consumed with making sure that the ministry is fun for our youth, we never give them anything purposefully or challenging to do.  It can be easy to let the adults get in the habit of doing all the ministry “work”?
  • Does your ministry have incremental opportunities for leadership so a young person who is new in their faith can begin to serve?  For example, you might not want a new Christian to teach your bible study, but could they give their testimony?  Could they serve snacks?  Could they take attendance?  Could you ask them to bring 2 new friends to an outreach meeting?  Make sure your ministry isn’t structured so that the only way for a young person to begin to lead is to have as much spiritual maturity as you!
  • Have you instituted a Volunteer in Training Program?  Creating a VIT program is a practical way to invite young urban Christians to serve, but without giving them the full-fledged responsibilities of an adult volunteer.  We have everything you need to start a VIT program from scratch and over 20 training videos to help you as you have questions and issues along the way.

Thoughts?  Ideas?

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