This past week I have been blessed to watch our students prove yet again why we need to shift our thinking in Youth Ministry. Our church runs a VBS program where students comprise more than half of the staff. And they are not just “helpers” who tie shoes, clean up messes, and run errands for the “grown up” teachers. In our VBS they are the teachers, core team members, and shepherds for children from birth through grade 6. In short, we don’t plan everything for them and then insert them as “quasi leaders”. Instead we engage them as equals from the very early planning stages of the process and give them ownership alongside the adult team members. I am proud of them and have been blessed to learn from them as I serve alongside and at times under their leadership! Here are 3 lessons learned from watching our Endeavor Kingdom Warriors:
- When challenged to lead they can and will lead with excellence! All of our teachers this week were and are amazing BUT my favorite one to watch was a rising Senior in High School named Danielle. I was honored to be one of her helpers this week (yes you read that right; she led I assisted her as needed) and her teaching was some of the most solid I have ever seen as she walked her class through the Gospel message they responded to His call thanks in part to this young lady and her willingness to be used by God!
- When entrusted with responsibility they follow through and create amazing ministry! Without exception our teens met the expectations we placed on them; which were the same placed on every team member at our church regardless of age. They were prepared, served without any complaint, and problem solved their way through a trying week. It was an honor to stand beside them as they ministered in the name of and in the Power of Jesus!
- They know how to have fun while they minister! This team laughed more than any other I have served on in recent years. Our students taught us that to minister in Jesus’ name doesn’t have to be stuffy or boring. In fact they showed us how to balance amazing humor with ministry excellence. It has been an honor to laugh with them as they furthered His Kingdom
I am proud of His students in the Central Vermont Endeavor Society and pray that an ever increasing number of churches will begin to see the benefit of treating our younger brothers and sisters in Christ as ministry equals. They are present day ministers and not merely bench-warmers in the kingdom to be used only when they reach some “milestone” measured by years on earth. Equip and empower them and HE will use them!