Raising the Next Generation of Leaders
How do we disciple and encourage the next generation of leaders?
I love it when 2 Timothy 1:5 describes the ‘sincere faith’ of Timothy. This faith first lived in his grandmother Lois, then in his mother Eunice, and now lives in him. God loves to pass down the gospel from generation to generation. It’s how he works. Mother to daughter. Older brother to younger brother. Youth Leader to young person.
One of the most effective ways the young people in your church will grow to love Jesus and want to make him known is through you – someone older and further along in the faith. As you pour into them, God will use the work of your hands to grow a generation of young people passionate about God and sharing his good news with others.
So, the question is...how?
In a recent study conducted by Christianity Explored Ministries, 60% of young people surveyed said the primary thing stopping them share their faith was not knowing what to say. Perhaps, because we’re not equipping them?
Young people need help in how best to bring light to our dark world. Train them. Give them resources. Ask your church Youth Leader what they’re doing to help the young people in your church be disciple-making disciples. After all, they’re the ones best placed to reach out to others their age.
Why would the young people in your church be a fearless evangelist if you’re not? Young people need and love role models – people who genuinely live out their faith.
Just imagine. You run a Christianity Explored course at your church. Adults across the generations invite their colleagues, family members and neighbours in boldness to explore the good news of Jesus. Wouldn’t that spur the young people on to do the same?
Here’s a challenge. Can you say to the young people in your church, ‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ’? (1 Corinthians 11:1)
When a young person reaches their mid-teenage years (I’d say around 14/15), it’s often true that they either lead or leave. Young people don’t want to be passengers. They’re keen to get involved and take on responsibility. Yet we’re often shy to give it to them.
I was 16 when a church leader first took a punt on me, asking me to speak on the Lord’s Prayer at a summer gathering of all the home groups. I don’t think I spoke heresy, but it definitely wasn’t anything ground-breaking.
Why not identify one or two young people in your church who have the potential to lead. Give them a go. Let them lead. Encourage them. Equip them. Model it for them. And just see what God does.
My task on the team is to lead the revamp of Youth Christianity Explored. It really is an exciting project. We’ve already launched two big surveys and are currently looking at updating the content and format of the course.
Please pray for us as we work on this new resource. And (this would help a lot), send the surveys onto the people you know:
Written by Dave Cornes, Associate Youth Evangelist
Dave Cornes is a speaker, host, and presenter. He is most passionate about growing disciples who make disciples and loves to equip young people to change the world for Jesus. Since 2014 he has served as Head of Youth at St James Muswell Hill, where he also leads Equip, a regional conference for Youth and Children’s workers.