Each youth has unique gifts and abilities that can be used in service to the congregation and community. Congregations should provide opportunities for them to use those gifts in service and leadership while making meaningful contributions to the community of believers. Parents and supportive adults are key in helping identify a teen’s gifts, experience, ability and passion and directing them to existing opportunities to serve or designing new ones. Healthy youth ministry invests in a variety of ways for youth to make meaningful contributions to their congregation. Meaningful contributions can include inviting their input into important congregational decisions or listening to their feedback after a service opportunity. Some youth will be ready for contributions beyond a meaningful impact into load-bearing leadership. Young leaders need to be coached, encouraged, and debriefed every step of the way. While service and leadership can be encouraged in a variety of places across the congregation, age-specific youth ministry is a key place for service opportunities and for new leaders to be developed. Leadership of peers can be especially impactful on both the leader and on the youth in your ministry.
- Think of the youth you know well. What skills and gifts do they have that can be used for service and leadership?
- Where can you help teens to have a meaningful contribution to ministry?
- How can you encourage both experienced and young leadership to work together?
For Youth Ministry Leadership
- Where can teens have meaningful contributions to your youth ministry?
- What service opportunities do you provide for youth? How can you grow these opportunities?
For Congregational Leadership
- How does your congregation empower and mentor young leaders?
- What prevents congregations from having young leaders?
- Who are current leaders in your church who might be good at mentoring a young leader?