Raising Up Leaders.
By Rev. Rachel Billups
I’m super passionate about seeing a new generation of Jesus followers lead the church. Not just lead someday, but lead right now! It’s because when I was just a teenager, 14 years old, my little country church of 50 asked me to help lead Vacation Bible School. I wasn’t even in high school yet! Was I a perfect leader? No. But they gave me an opportunity, and that opportunity shaped the leader I am today.
What does it take to empower children and teens to lead? The two R’s: RELATIONSHIP and RESPONSIBILITY.
We’ve got to be in intentional RELATIONSHIP with our kids and teens. I am not just talking about paid staff people like Pastors or Children’s Ministry Directors. We need an army of men and women who are active in the lives of kids and teens through small groups, mentoring, and participating in large events. Relationships give us the ability to speak life into this next generation. It doesn’t matter what size your church, youth group or children’s ministry. In the words of Josh Shipp, “each kid is just one caring adult away from a success story.” The kids in our ministries that are stepping into leadership are the kids who have a safe spiritually healthy adult in their live intentionally cheering them on!
And then there is RESPONSIBILITY. In order to lead, kids and teens need to empowered through real life opportunities. At Ginghamsburg we have groups for our students as young as 4th grade through high school to shape the design of our ministry. We call these groups Student Leadership Teams. They speak into the ministry by sharing their own felt needs, what they believe will attract their friends, and where they want to engage in leadership and mission. Younger Student Leadership Teams meet monthly and High School SLT meets weekly throughout the academic year. We also have teens serving in every aspect of ministry. They are operating video cameras and media, leading Children’s Small Group, and leading worship as vocalist on the platform on the weekend (that’s right in front of thousands on the weekend!). Now in order for our teens to be leading in these highly visible spaces, we’ve had to walk alongside them both disciplining them as Jesus followers and also training them to have the skills necessary to get the job done. It takes time and intention, but it’s what we are called to do! This is what it means to make disciples of Jesus Christ for today and for tomorrow! You and I have the opportunity and the responsibility to raise up a new generation of leaders, let’s go for it!
Rev. Rachel Billups
Rachel currently serves as Tipp City Campus Pastor and Executive Pastor of Next Generation Ministries at Ginghamsburg Church. She partners with family and young adult ministries to dream and deploy discipleship opportunities for making young disciples of Jesus Christ. Rachel is the author of Be Bold: Finding Your Fierce. She and her husband, Jon, have four children Adeline, Christopher, David and Sarah.