“Don’t do ministry TO youth, do ministry WITH youth.” – Mike Pilavachi
I’ve just moved to a new church, following God’s call to join the team at Centenary Lakes Christian Community in Cairns. One of the things that has impressed me the most about my new home is their Junior Leaders: youth who serve in the kids ministry. It’s not rocket science and it’s not unique to CLCC, but the church has been amazing in the way they have raised up and are equipping teenagers. These teenagers span across all high school ages and faithfully serve in our three kids ministry areas. They are committed, prepared, gifted and are the backbone of ministry to kids through our church. We still rely on adult leaders, but our junior leaders aren’t just token helpers or free labor, they are genuine spiritual leaders.
I haven’t quite tapped into all of the ways CLCC have raised up these junior leaders, but here are some keys:
- Start with one or two who are obvious young leaders
- Invite them to be involved in leadership
- Give them responsibility, not just tasks
- Invest in them with ongoing prayer, support and training
- Let the power of positive peer pressure spread the word about how great it is to serve God as a junior leader.
Early signs are showing that junior leaders own their faith, are less selfish and are more likely to continue on in faith and leadership than their peers. Our junior leaders haven’t just been the recipients of ministry, they have become ministry partners.
Centenary Lakes have blessed me with the gift of Junior Leaders and I hope to continue to build on that foundation. Don’t ignore the potential of doing ministry WITH youth, they are ready and waiting to be included.
Geoff Snook is the Generations Pastor (Kids, Youth , Young Adults) at Centenary Lakes Christian Community in Cairns, Australia.