I have spent most of my life as of now working in students ministry for as long as I can remember. I think back to the days when my dad first taught me and all of my siblings how to play an instrument and said, “you’re our worship team from now on”. I thought we were the next Jackson 5, when in reality we sounded like a bunch of pots and pans hitting a kitchen floor. Fast forward to high school and we are attending a new church with averaging less than 100 adults and more than 20 six-twelve graders. At the time I had just started playing piano and only knew a few chords. My dad came up to me one Saturday night and said, “I want you to start teaching Sarah drums”. High school Efrain was not about it, but I’m glad I did it anyways. To feel the joy of others accomplishments is an emotion rarely rivaled when you are used for a small part in the narrative of their written story.
There are countless times where I have seen God work through the hearts of young individuals and inspire them to become leaders within their church. The problem is we as a church have lacked the intentionality to identify them. The trend is so bent towards finding the result and not the individual. If this was the truth of the gospel, we would all be doomed! We are so busy looking for a polished leader instead of investing in the 16 year-old singer that leads youth group every Wednesday night faithfully for the past 5 years. I have a heart for these individuals. God rewards faithfulness and so should we.
Some of the best leaders that I have been under never developed over night nor were mistake-free. Development takes time and lots of continual effort. We the church should be eager to put our money, time, emotions, and knowledge into equipping the younger generation. In fact, Jesus commands us in this very thing in Matthew 28 saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” The greek word for teach used in this passage is ‘didáskontes’. Which means to impart instruction, instill doctrine into one, or the thing taught or enjoined. We must be intentional with those who feel a call on their lives to serve the church and be accountable to care for those who lack direction/counsel in how to follow Jesus as well as be in the scriptures. It is especially our duty as followers of Christ to equip our young leaders with the correct doctrine and views of who God is. This is what we as believers are not only called to but commanded toward pursuing by Jesus.
It’s messy and I promise will take more than a day, and that’s okay. It will be inconvenient to you at many times and there will be failure after failure but it will always be worth the fight. Kids will be kids, whats new? Let’s fight for development within our young leaders! I yearn for our churches and ministries to build a culture where todays leaders are eventually superseded by their leaders of the next generation. Not based off of merit or title, but faithfulness and influence. Let’s continually search our hearts, our ministries, and the scriptures. Is there more we can do to pursue development? In your church? Communities? Cities? Ask the spirit to reveal and identify those who you should train and pour into. Pray for them. Fight for them. Develop them.