Know, Love, Serve … Christ (Part 1 of 5)
Know, Love, Serve … Kids (Part 2 of 5)
Know, Love, Serve … Families (Part 4 of 5)
Know, Love, Serve … the World (Part 5 of 5)
Did you know the ministry of Awana is reaching over 3.5 million children weekly around the world? God is using more than 450,000 equipped leaders across the globe to transform kids’ lives with the Gospel and engage them in lifelong discipleship. Our prayer is that children and youth all over the world will come to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re serious about building into as many leaders as possible so they can reach kids anytime and anywhere with the hope of Christ. Thanks for sticking with us for the third installment of this five-part blog series. Take a moment to forward this post along to your volunteers. You can also post on social media using @Awana and hashtag #AwanaKLS.
What Leaders of Leaders Leave Behind
1. Why did you get involved in children’s and youth ministry?
2. Who did God use along the way to change your life trajectory?
3. How did he or she initiate your equipping process as a disciple maker?
At its core, discipleship is a relational journey with God and others through faith in Christ. It happens best in the heart of godly community through the nurturing of the Holy Spirit and God-honoring leaders. Every follower of Jesus that gets scooped up by the Lord’s grace is immediately ushered into the adventure of disciple-making. Ministry multiplication takes place as leaders of leaders build into believers by example, encouragement, and equipping.
For me, I stepped into the ranks of children’s and youth ministry three decades ago because God used devoted kid-influencers in my life along the way. Claire, Steve, Bob, and many more stepped up as disciple makers so that I would know, love, and serve Christ forever. I was known, loved, and served in the way of Jesus by these faithful followers. God used them to impact my heart and moved me toward disciple-making as a leader in children’s and youth ministries.
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)
- So, what’s your discipleship and leadership story?
- Who helped you discover your passion as part of the body of Christ?
- How are you fulfilling your ministry in the lives of kids, students, and families today?
Leaders of leaders leave behind a wake of disciple makers who are known, loved, and served as children of God first. Then they equip these trustworthy believers so they will continue multiplying the reach of the Gospel.
To impact today’s kids, students, and families, we need a movement of kid-influencers who are committed to pursuing a future that will leave a disciple-making legacy behind. You and I have the opportunity and responsibility to build into children’s and youth ministry leaders in powerful ways for the sake of Christ and kids of all ages.
Three Powerful Ways to Be a Leader of Leaders
1. Know each leader’s story
Every leader in your ministry has a unique life story. Beyond completing a serving interview and a background check, it’s important that your leaders become known by you and in community with other kid-influencers. Who they are today is a result of how God has worked in the past and what He’s doing in them currently.
I love how Paul specifically mentions Timothy’s faith background in 2 Timothy 1:5. He says, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” Whether your leaders came from a legacy of faith or came to Christ later in life, take time to get to know each one personally.
Find out about each leader’s family of origin and current family. Hobbies, hopes and dreams are all good conversation starters. Explore how he or she became a follower of Christ and the impact this decision has on their life choices. Regularly talk together about how God is growing each of you up in the faith. The interest you take in getting to know your leaders will strengthen your bond as a disciple-making team and the impact you have on kids, students, and families.
2. Love each leader’s passion
It’s wise to surround yourself as a leader with other leaders who care about more and different things than you. I once had a leader who was so excited about wise stewardship, she made sure to tighten the caps on all the children’s ministry markers after every service. Honestly, I was stunned when I found out how much money she saved the church each year!
1 Corinthians 12:12 says, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” If you’re a great shepherd of people, you probably need teachers and administrators in your children’s and youth ministry mix. If you’re naturally hospitable, you likely need some strategic leaders and prayer warriors by your side. Whatever you’re most passionate about and spiritually gifted for is just one part of what your team needs. Your ability to love each leader for who they are and what they love is mission critical. The body of Christ has capacity for many passions and spiritual gifts, but do you?
As you pull together your children’s and youth ministry team, select leaders who are deeply moved by whatever God has placed on his or her heart. You don’t need to live out their passion to love the passion that’s in them. It can be tempting to subdue someone else’s fire for fear that it will overtake yours. Resist this as a leader of leaders. Trust that God has a purpose for putting your flame and theirs’ together for a greater disciple-making purpose. Give your kids, students, and families in your ministry the opportunity to gravitate toward a wide variety of passions and spiritual gifts.
3. Serve each leader’s ministry
You and your ministry have a purpose, but so does each leader on your team. Ephesians 2:10 is an incredible verse: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This passage establishes the heart of our ministry as part of our identity in Christ. The Lord formed us, literally as works of art, to live out that which He specifically designated us to accomplish. If you hold the leaders in your ministry back, who else will do their good works in Jesus’ name?
Now, I’m not saying fragment your disciple-making mission as a children’s or youth ministry. If someone on your team is more excited about developing a homeless ministry or leading a men’s choir, it’s probably time to release them toward that end. However, it is important to free up the leaders on your team to be themselves and fulfill the ministry God has in store for them. You can serve more kids and families by serving your leaders’ ministries under the umbrella of your ministry’s mission.
You can multiply your disciple-making efforts as a leader of leaders by fully supporting the people on your team. This will also affect the children and youth in your ministry, for they will quickly discover that they too have a God-given ministry to fulfill. Spend time as a leadership core talking about what each of you is called to pursue. Figure out ways to serve uniquely and still in community toward a common goal. A much broader group of kids, students, and families will be impacted as you meet more needs than one person or approach can do alone.
Communities of Kid-Influencers Needed
When a cadre of known, loved, and served leaders step up, it creates a strong, supportive, sustainable environment for children and youth to meet Christ face-to-face. Communities of kid-influencers embody the family of God in the lives of kids. They literally become spiritual parents and siblings to whoever they’re called to reach. Your willingness to be a leader of leaders opens a door for this network of disciple-making relationships to flourish.
Knowing your leaders’ stories, loving your leaders’ passions, and serving your leaders’ ministries is an open-handed approach. It’s not always easy to do, but in the end it’s always worth it for the sake of Christ. Your challenge is to build a community of kid-influencers in the way of Jesus so that as many children and youth all over the world will come to know, love, and serve Christ. Are you up for it?