I don’t get it…
- One scored six goals in a world cup game.
- They’ve written world famous operas, inspired nations to battle victories and created the social networking phenomenon.
- In athletics we’ve seen total dominance from some: a Heisman trophy winner, a Daytona 500 driver and one was arguably the best gymnast ever.
I’m talking about teens.
- Educators push them to take AP Physics and Calculus.
- They hold down jobs and we trust them to watch after our own children.
- They create art, perform, bake, dance and defend our nation.
But in the church…
- We ask them to listen to us (Sunday morning, mid-week and in small group).
- We buy them endless amounts of pizza in the hopes they’ll come back.
- We beg them to bring a friend to the camp that we planned for them.
- We tell them to sit still while the Pastors and adults speak at them.
- We tell them they are the next generation of leaders, but give them little to lead.
It’s time we (the church) take the governor off their accelerators! Jesus gathered a group of ordinary young adults (most of them teens), mentored them and entrusted them to start the church. Students can/should lead in ministry. This statement causes angst among many. Some hear “student led” and become anxious, they fear chaos will ensue. Others read it and are threatened, “but how will I use my gifts?” Even teenagers may read it and have their doubts, “We’re too young, we don’t need more on our plate!” Semantics play a role as well; what if we redefined “leadership” as a person who is leading in his or her area of giftedness? We need teen leaders in music, mercy and mission. Teens who are exercising their giftedness in administration and teaching are equally important.
Students are ready, capable and already leading in so many other realms, it is time (again) for the church to give them room to operate while adult mentors walk with them as coaches and cheerleaders!