Next Generation Leaders

The following is a millennials response to a recent Growing Leaders post in regards to Serve.
As a millennial myself, I find myself immediately connecting with the “new school” way of thinking but I’m not sure how “new” this way of thinking/leading is. In fact, if I were to categorize Jesus into one of these categories, I’d say he would fit best under the new school. Jesus may not have a wireless connection or a verified social media account, but he doesn’t need one to pursue a relationship with us, empower us, fill our hearts and spirit with passion and lead us to the cross.
Serve is a very important time for students, and for some this may be their only opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and allow God into their hearts. Our host team and host church provide the venue and volunteers to fulfill Gods mission for that week and the number one thing I ask of my team is for them to allow God to work through them as he pursues a relationship with these students, their leaders and the community.
From my perspective, the key to a successful Serve is the atmosphere established by the host team and supporting volunteers. From the moment the students enter the Serve church, they need to be surrounded by a host team and student leaders that have a relationship with God and a strong passion for sharing his love and the gospel with others. Our interaction and activities with the students need to be empowering, thought provoking and encouraging. The guidelines in Tim Elmore’s article, Six Rules Next Generation Leaders Follow provide a great outline…
Trust – an atmosphere that allows the students to feel open and trusting ranks high on the list. From my experience, when these students trust their surroundings, they are willing to step out of their comfort zones and present whatever is on their heart to God. It is also important that they know they can trust God.
Why? – provide an environment that allows our students to ask whatever is on their mind. In most cases, students have an endless amount of questions and we want to encourage them to ask! This is a great opportunity for them to have a deeper understanding.
Relationships/Discipline follows passion – a relationship with God will put the passion in their hearts and discipline will follow. This also follows the guideline, relationship before results. In addition, it’s important for these students to develop relationships within the Christian community for guidance and support
Encourage – leading and encouraging the students will give them a sense of confidence and self-worth. It will empower them. In result, they will lead others to God when they return home.
There may also be a way for the students, with guidance from Serve, to utilize social media to spread the gospel and their love for God.
To summarize, I feel the “new school” leadership qualities is a great way to connect and inspire the students attending Serve. I think this would be a great brainstorming topic and the outline provided in the article would be a good starting point.


Dependence on God

Sold. Our house had sold! My family and I were looking forward to moving closer to church and school, but there was a problem. We were struggling to find a house that fit our needs (and wants). We walked out the door of our home for the last time knowing we had three months to find something before we had to be out of our short-term rental. My wife and I were both well aware of how little time that was. God had plans however, and two weeks later he made available the home we had been praying for, and two months later we moved in. It was answered prayer and we knew this was where we were supposed to be, but God did it on his timeline and his message was clear. Trust me!


Have you had those times in youth ministry of being totally dependent on God? That place where you ask yourself, do I really believe God will come through? For some, that time is leading small group discussions. For others, it could be getting up in front of a large group to share a testimony, or taking students on a Serve teen summer mission experience or working through unmet expectations with parents or a pastor. Whatever brings you there, most of us might agree, it is often a place filled with fear and anxiety, and if we’re really honest, we might even admit it causes us to question how much can we really depend on him.


It is human nature to want to be in control, but listen to the words of Psalm 146: 3-6, “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the Lord, who remains faithful forever.”


Do you remember having a parent or friend tell you to fall backwards into their arms? It was scary, exciting and nerve wrecking all at the same time. If it was a parent, you knew they would catch you, but the fear was still there. When I play this game with my daughters there are times they can’t bring themselves to fall, even though I’m 100% confident I’ll catch them. When they don’t want to, I don’t get angry, but when they do, it makes me feel oh so good. I want to believe God feels something similar when we depend on him. He is probably not angry when we don’t fully trust him, but I’m sure he’s filled with joy when we do!


As the church calendar year comes to a close and transitions toward summer ministry and youth mission experiences begin, it is my prayer you have experienced the joy found in serving him through serving students and that you put all trust in him as your summer experiences begin.


As the childhood song goes . . . trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.