How to affirm the leaders of tomorrow in the church of today

posted in: The Church on Mission

Workshop: Mobilizing Youth for Leadership in the Church & Mission
Heinrich Rempel

Who are the leaders of tomorrow in our churches, and what are we doing to develop them today? What are some of the obstacles we face?  Leaders from four continents, representing many cultures, gathered to engage these questions today. The similarities in our responses was amazing. We share common desires and common struggles in developing young leaders.

  • We desire for our youth to put Jesus first in their lives, but we struggle to model that well.
  • We desire for them to be “on fire” for Jesus, but we struggle with their impulsiveness.
  • We desire for them to have strong faith, but we struggle to let them take faith-building risks.
  • We desire for them to be church leaders…down the road…when they’re more mature and experienced, but we struggle to let them gain that experience by practicing on us.
Heinrich Rempel, director of operations at MB Mission Europe and workshop facilitator, offered some suggestions for leaning into these tensions.
  • Include young people in the life of the church from an early age.
  • Create opportunities for young people to lead, and let them make mistakes.
  • Encourage life-long learning experiences for youth, such as TREK and other missions experiences.
  • Serve together, adults and youth side by side.
  • Be adults who mentor, encourage, invite input and questions, and support young people.
  • Be humble, willing to acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s leading in a young person’s life, and surround them with a discerning community.
Our churches have incredible opportunities to play a part in developing our future leaders. But the church is me. And the church is you. How will each of us choose to contribute?
Lianne Nikkel planted Trailhead Church, Littleton, Colorado, USA, with her family 10 years ago. She serves the USMB conference on the Leadership Board. She works as in training and mentoring at Denver Seminary.