Over the past few weeks, my responsibilities as Youth Ministry Intern have shifted in order to place me in an area that allows me to continue to sharpen my giftings as well as serve in an aspect of our student ministry that I am passionate about. After much discussion and prayer with Pastor Jason, I took a bigger role in developing our student leaders. Since this change, I have had the privilege, along with the TUFF counselors, to plan and execute a leadership retreat for our new student leaders. This retreat has been crucial in terms of casting the direction for the new school year and laying down the foundational groundwork for leading others. The students enjoyed being able to reconnect with one another, as well as share feedback regarding the current health of TUFF, our youth ministry. Although many activities were mentally exhausting, it was evident by the students' endurance that they love their fellow peers and friends. I am excited to see how the groundwork that we set that weekend will come into fruition in the next few months.
Great leaders don't just randomly show up at your doorstep. Oftentimes leaders spend many years training, learning, failing, failing some more and then finally growing before they ever step into a position of leadership. It is these unseen years in which God cultivates the character of these future leaders. And then, when the time is right, they will be able to step into positions that allow them to create change for the sake of the Gospel. Leaders don't just appear overnight—instead, they are developed over time.
So when we start thinking about training and developing future church leaders, what is a better place to start than the young teenagers who sit among you every Sunday morning? These students are some of the most passionate, teachable and available people at our church. They are ready to be invested in, and when believed upon, they rise up to the challenge of leading their fellow students. Over the past few weeks, I've seen these students spend many hours figuring out the best way to meet the needs of others. They think through the different challenges that their fellow teenagers might face and brainstorm solutions so that TUFF will continue to grow in the likeness of Christ. They produce thoughtful and creative content in order to engage students through online platforms. It is amazing to see these students step up to the challenges that this pandemic brings and overcome them in order for others to feel welcomed and accepted into a biblical community.
I firmly believe in the leadership potential of each student on the team and can’t wait to see how they will grow deeply in their relationship with God. During the next few months, we will be taking a look at how Jesus led others. It is my prayer that as these students learn from His model of leadership that they would fall deeper in love with their Lord and Savior.