Where will the next generation of Christian leaders come from? Future preachers and teachers, ministers and missionaries, youth ministers, children’s ministers, worship leaders, etc.? You might be surprised.
First of all, it’s not the job of Bible colleges or seminaries to raise up the next generation of leaders. They aren’t the ones who’ve raised up leaders of the past, leaders we have today or leaders we’ll need tomorrow. They can refine them, but they don’t raise them.
Where will the next generation of Christian leaders come from? You might be surprised.
It’s not parachurch organizations who raise up Christian leaders either, or have the responsibility for doing so. They can recruit, resource, even relocate leaders, but they don’t raise them up; and it’s not their responsibility to do so. The primary producer of Christian leaders has always been and always will be the local church. Bible colleges, seminaries and parachurch organizations can and should partner with the local church, but it’s never been their primary responsibility to raise up the next generation of Christian leaders. God has given that task to His church.
It begins in the nursery when a volunteer cares for little ones, watching and feeding them, changing diapers, singing Christian songs and reading Bible stories that will remain with them all the days of their lives. It happens in children’s worship when youngsters are led by adults who have given their lives to teach children the elementary doctrines of the faith, the meaning of baptism, communion, etc. Far from babysitting, these men and women, by example and a consistent investment of time, talent, energy and effort, lay the foundation for a life of faith and a lifetime of faithfulness among these future leaders.
But those aren’t the only ones who help produce young champions for Christ in a local church. It’s also the greeter who welcomes a child or young person as they walk in the building and extends to them not only an enthusiastic hello, but also encouragement that “today is going to be a life-changing day” for them. It’s the usher who, week after week, faithfully seats and serves people as they worship. Simple acts of service that may seem insignificant, but over time have an impact on those young lives.
Likewise, faithful men and women who teach, sing, or play an instrument on the platform or those who serve wherever there’s a need. Enthusiasm for the things of God is caught, taught and bought by young lives looking for heroes; people worth following.
But it’s not just those who serve openly and are seen publicly who influence and impact the next generation of young champions for Christ. It’s also the private prayer warriors who are rarely seen on earth but never missed in Heaven. It’s men and women, singles, senior adults, couples and families who are present for worship every Lord’s day, year after year. Their presence alone plays an integral part during the formative years of children and teenagers.
Never underestimate the privilege for these future leaders-in-training of seeing people who put Christ first. No one can accurately measure the importance and impact of Christians who model a genuine love for the Lord and His church and lead a life others can emulate.
A solid Bible education begins much younger than many would believe. Basic spiritual disciplines are impressed upon children when they begin attending church, and enhanced even further through experiences like Vacation Bible School, Church Camp, CIY, etc. Obviously, one of the greatest contributors to producing young champions comes from the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. Only eternity will reveal the full impact upon the lives of young and old alike from a faithful preacher and teacher of the Word who passionately prepares and enthusiastically shares the unsearchable riches of Christ year after year.
Think of the vast potential of knowing God’s Word and the understanding of how to apply it to life that’s available and attainable for anyone who stays in a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church all their life. No one can know the entire Bible or preach it all in one lifetime. But if a child, teenager or adult faithfully participates in worship week after week, and year after year, hearing, studying and applying the Word of God, their faith is going to grow and their life will be transformed. Over time, the result will be a champion for Christ.
One pastor said, “There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited … Still to this day, the potential of the local church is almost more than I can grasp. No other organization on earth is like the church. Nothing even comes close.”
What a privilege to be part of the local church. Thanks for helping us raise up the next generation of Christian leaders not only for ministry, but also for the marketplace. We want to raise up dynamic, Christian leaders who will go into all the world with the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST, leading everyone they can to Him.
We want to do the absolute best we can producing more champions for Christ.
Will you help us?
© 2018. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.