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Five Church Leadership Roles for the Youth

Ms. Dora is a parent, grandparent, and Christian counselor who offers suggestions on raising confident and compassionate children and youth.

There are many ministry leadership positions appropriate for the youth.

There are many ministry leadership positions appropriate for the youth.

This article does not intend to present its author as an expert on youth or youth ministries. It aims to recognize and appreciate young members for their ambition to serve and to suggest service roles that do not necessitate pushing the old folk aside. My love for young people is as genuine and passionate as my love for older people.

These suggestions take into consideration two facts that influence the distribution of leadership in the church:

  1. Focusing on positions to be filled may result in competition for those positions. There are many individuals who are qualified for each slot. Focusing instead on the individuals who are spiritually gifted to serve will cause the creation of more positions (for leadership and supporting roles) in keeping with the New Testament posture that there is a place for every one (1 Corinthians 12:21).
  2. The truth is that most ministry opportunities extend beyond the worship service. This opens up many leadership positions for both the young and the old. Jesus was always a leader whether He ministered on the street, on the beach, on the hillside, or in someone's home.

Here are five suggestions for ministry leadership positions that are most appropriate for young people, teenagers all the way up to age 30. Hopefully, considering these positions will generate thoughts of many more.

(1) Online Ministries

Within many successful ministries, there is the senior pastor who preaches weekly, and among others, one or more online pastors. Online pastors are required to, among other tasks, “humanize a digital experience…add a personal element to an experience that might otherwise be just a screen and a message… open a door for one-on-one discipleship—a key to reaching people and helping them grow in their faith.” They disseminate theological and historical information online and interact with people who may not have come to the actual building. (The State of the Online Church by Vanderbloemen et al.) An online pastor may be the leader of an online ministry team comprised of several volunteers who are qualified, willing, and happy to work together. So, can we accept the challenge to open up online ministries for our youth?

Youth have the greatest influence on their associates.

Youth have the greatest influence on their associates.

(2) Campus Ministries

College campuses accommodate several types of extra-curricular activities. Christian students on campuses that allow religious activities are prime for on-campus ministries. Where religious activities are not allowed, they can arrange off-campus meetings in which they teach godly living to their campus friends. “There is no other class which can do as much good as young men and young women consecrated to God…. Preachers, or laymen advanced in years, cannot have one-half the influence upon the young, that the youth, devoted to God, can have upon their associates.” (Messages to Young People by Ellen White). How many potential youth leaders could result from youth initiatives on college campuses? Encourage accountability by having them report to, and receive reinforcement from, the church’s pastoral staff.

(3) Community Outreach Ministries

Youth can make an impact on their communities, represent their faith, and pursue their career agenda all in the same activities. They can select appropriate projects according to their skills, the tasks they perform well, and for which they get the most requests. They will have the satisfaction of filling needs and gaining experience which they can list on their resumes for civil or religious employment. Here are a few community projects which they can join, or start and lead:

  • Fundraising for community projects arising from natural disasters or other calamities.
  • Cleanliness drives in designated areas.
  • Care services for elderly, the disabled, the shut-ins.
  • Technological input in struggling neighborhood businesses (barbershops, restaurants).
  • Social media advertisements for other ministries.

Inasmuch as they lead or support where help is needed, their efforts will be counted as divine aid (often as answers to prayers).

There are many leaders needed in the ministry of kindness.

There are many leaders needed in the ministry of kindness.

(4) Personal Ministries

Some young people are well aware of their calling. Others are not. There is a vast amount of online and printed material on spiritual gifts, which offer guidance to believers who are not sure about their purpose or where they should serve. God has equipped some for a personal ministry which is not named on the church scroll but is His specific plan for them. Some may not even realize that they are already in personal ministries because their tasks seem so natural. Here are a few examples:

  • The young teacher who feels impressed to provide lunch for some needy students, and is the reason one mother invited herself to the teacher’s church and attends regularly with her children.
  • The student who helps others with their homework and gives them helpful, appropriate literature to read.
  • The friend who listens to and is regularly asked to pray with, and for, other friends who have problems.

These persons are all functioning in their divinely-appointed places until God moves them to another setting. Their assurance of being in God’s will prevents them from competing for more popular positions which may only frustrate them. No joy is greater than the joy of serving in one’s area of giftedness, fulfilling one’s purpose.

(5) Internships

Still, there may be that young person who is obviously God-ordained for an established position in the worship service. Rather than fold his hands and wait, he could be assigned to understudy the older gentleman whom he will replace. The humble, teachable intern will learn valuable lessons here.

A strange thing happened in a church where the organist was the lone musician and choir leader. One of the young members began to learn music and actually announced his aim to replace the organist. The organist welcomed him as an apprentice, took pride in presenting the emerging organist as his legacy to the church, and featured him on the organ on special occasions. Now they work together, supporting each other and participating together in their services to God and to the church. The young man is no longer looking forward to replacing the old man, but they know that God may already have plans for that.

This team effort has occurred because of the young man’s sense of purpose, equaled by the old man’s commitment to put God and His Kingdom above self. It can still happen when the focus is on God.

Conclusion

Youth deserve to be recognized, encouraged, and applauded for their personal development, and for their contribution to the Kingdom's agenda. Youth leaders may ask and receive wisdom from God to train them effectively, and to help them find and establish their places in God’s ever-expanding program. Their place is reserved for them.

© 2021 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 23, 2021:

Thanks, Devika. I appreciate your continual support in reading and commenting on my articles.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 21, 2021:

Hi MsDora This is interesting and well-written. In this life it is harder to raise kids and to have a certain amount of control in what they do. Your suggestions are valuable to all parents.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Thanks, Mary. These days, there really needs to be church growth in the area of youth membership.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 19, 2021:

It is important for the Church to involve young people. This ensures the continued stability and growth of the Church.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Devika, I appreciate your observations. Eventually, the youth make their own choices, but we will try to influence them as much as possible with godly guidance. Thanks for your input.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 19, 2021:

Hi MsDora You make valuable suggestions and a lot has changed with the new generation. They tend to ignore what the elders have to say and communicate with their own age group. Some will find this way useful while others will not want that for them. The choice is theirs

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Thanks, Pamela. Especially with all the technological lingo these days, they communicate among themselves, much better than with us.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Thanks, Bill. If youth leaders understand the significance of teaching them to find their place, their lives would be more meaningful and purposeful.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 19, 2021:

This is a very good article, Dora. I love your suggestions. I agree that young people will often relate to another young person better than an older adult. I think the online ministry has an important place in this day and age. You covered this topic so well, and I fully agree with you.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 19, 2021:

They are the future of the church, and as such should be involved as soon as possible. Interesting and informative, Dora! Thank you!

Ann Carr from SW England on April 19, 2021:

Yes, there certainly should be, Dora.

Ann

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Thanks, Ann. Surely, there's a place within the church for all the willing young to function.

Ann Carr from SW England on April 19, 2021:

These are interesting suggestions and it's great to involve the young in pointing out such choices.

Ann

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Thank you, Erwa. They are only suggestions and I hope that they will grow more.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Flourish, thanks for sharing your experience. Perhaps the second job was the right one for you. I applaud for knowing when to move.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Thank you, Chitrangada, for your kind words and affirmation. I agree that the energy and enthusiasm of the youth is a great asset to the experience of age.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Thanks, Liz. The young have to begin somewhere. It is the church's responsibility to give them a start.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Thanks, Peggy. That's what I need--for creative leaders to build on these ideas and make them relevant for their youth.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 19, 2021:

Thanks, Paul. Glad you stopped by. We do need the youth to be involved in church ministries.

Iqra from East County on April 19, 2021:

MsDora your five leadership rules for young members are very useful. They can get training effectively. Thanks for sharing this.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 19, 2021:

These are wonderful ideas. Although not the same, I was hired for a job where the hiring manager was expected to retire in two years and I was supposed to replace him. Then he just didn’t retire. Kept on stretching it out. Time ticked on and eventually I moved on to another opportunity because my talent was dying on the vine. I like your approach of making people feel valued and grow the organization.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 18, 2021:

Great article MsDora!

You have provided some important and thoughtful suggestions, for the younger members for church leadership. A combination of knowledge, experience, expertise, energy, enthusiasm, team work, and technology is excellent for any organisation.

Thank you for sharing this well written article.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 18, 2021:

This is a thought-provoking, encouraging and interesting article. In many churches leadership positions are reserved for the well-trained, more mature members. You make good suggestions in this helpful article. The young people are the future of the church. With good nurturing and oversight they can make a valuable contribution to church life.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 18, 2021:

I like your ideas, Dora. There are always positions waiting to be fulfilled, and they can take many directions.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on April 18, 2021:

Thanks for sharing a very useful article. Church leadership roles for younger members are definitely needed today.

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