How to Create Young Leaders
Our camp summer is very quickly drawing to a close as we begin our last children’s week of the summer. What an amazing summer it has been! I’ve had the privilege of watching God move in the lives of the people who pass through this camp - campers and staff. As the staff muster up the strength, energy, courage, willpower, and joy to teach the campers about Christ, they are often blindsided by how much the campers teach them. As a staff member here, I can attest to this myself. It has always struck me that I can work as hard as I can all summer, and still finish camp feeling like I’ve gained more than I’ve given.
My role this summer is Junior Staff Director. I strive to foster leaders and encourage leadership development. The most exciting part about my job is watching young people growing into leaders. For most junior staff, camp is one of the first things they’ve been a part of that isn’t for themselves. School, community sports, Sunday School, Youth Group, and most other activities that 15 year old youth are a part of are programmed specifically for them. I am a part of a youth leadership team during the fall and winter months, and we plan out every week of youth group and programming for this age group. It’s geared toward the youth. Becoming a Junior Staff is the exact opposite. The programming we run at camp is geared towards children - the campers. This week we have 7-12 year olds. The best part about my job is watching young people who have been poured into by their teacher, coaches, parents, and leaders turn around and pour into someone younger than they are. These young people realize that camp is not for them - and they turn into servant leaders who are focused on the needs of others. This realization is how young leaders are made.
Today in the Junior Staff meeting I challenged the staff to think about someone who they felt has really poured into them and what about that person made an impact on them. Their task is to reflect that kind of behaviour to their campers today.
This is how the church should work. Older/wiser/more experienced people pouring into younger people. A fountain of mentorship, leadership, discipleship, and guidance should be poured down through the generations. At the top of each step of the fountain should be the hope and wisdom that comes from Jesus Christ poured into each person to empower them to invest in someone else. Everyone should have an investor and be investing in others.
Also in the Junior Staff meeting, we discussed Paul’s description to Timothy of what a Christian leader should be (1 Timothy 3:1-10). We applied these qualities to life at camp. We also looked at 1 Timothy 4:12 “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity”. We discussed the tall order of this passage, along with the emphasis on young leadership. My sincere prayer is that these young people will pursue to be mistaken for Jesus in their leadership role.
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be invested in other, too, and what they are doing.
Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on the cross. Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:1-11