5 GAME-CHANGING IDEAS FOR MENTORING CHILDREN AS WORSHIP LEADERS
How do we encourage our children in leadership?
Developing children into leaders – leaders of themselves, their peers, and even adults – is a process that requires investment. And that investment begins with a simple principle:
How do we encourage our children in leadership?
We treat them as leaders now, instead of just looking to the future. As the Scripture says, “A little child will lead them” (Is. 11:6b).
We can see leadership gifts, callings, and influence in children even at the very youngest ages. And while we must see children as future leaders, they should be treated as present leaders to nurture their gifts.
This paves the way for their future, allowing their leadership skills to mature and develop all along the way.
1. Watch For The Gift
2. Surround Them With Mentors
3. Group Them With Friends
4. Allow Them To Experiment
5. Envision Them With Destiny
IDEA 1 – WATCH FOR THE GIFT
Watch for the gift.
When we look at children, we should be trying to perceive what the unique gift set God has given them truly is.
Leadership is simply the capacity to influence. Ask the Lord to show you the arena of each child’s influence. What “ways” do you see in their life that would bring influence, and would make God’s name famous?
A child may have a wonderful way with words in front of groups of people. Or a child may have a way of expressing hospitality, acceptance, or graciousness.
If joy fills the room when a particular child enters, you are seeing a unique kind of leadership emerge.
You may notice a strong capacity in a child to do justice, and to influence people persuasively (which can present to the untrained eye as though they are just argumentative!).
Another budding leadership skill reveals itself when a child shows that they are not daunted by what everyone else thinks. Watch the children around you; watch them in your church and in your community.
Be on the lookout for different gifts that are flowering among them – and begin to identify these gifts early on.
IDEA 2 – SURROUND THEM WITH MENTORS
Surround them with mentors.
Surround the children with whom you work with mentors in your community. If there are people you want your kids to emulate, create opportunities that bring these mentors into the kids’ lives.
We can quietly motivate children to grow and dream by exposing them to people that they admire. Make it a constant habit to bring people around who have inspired or deeply moved you.
It only takes a simple “I want to be like them” spoken in the heart of a child to launch some children to their highest leadership potential. You’ll see the sparkle in their eyes when they are connecting with someone.
Feed that connection, and reference those people when you are encouraging that unique child in his or her gifts.
IDEA 3 – GROUP THEM WITH FRIENDS
Group them with friends.
Group children with other friends who show keen leadership qualities and a desire for growth in your faith community. Bring each child together with other like-minded leaders, even when they are kids.
The iron-sharpening-iron effect will start early if you do, and you may be surprised at the results.
Two children may be influencing a group in two unique ways; get those two kids together to let them rub shoulders with one another.
Then get those same kids interacting – and influencing their peers together. Friendships and bonds can form in the early years, and those bonds may give two friends the opportunity to lead joyfully together with complementary gifts as they age.
We can begin to perceive these leadership skills early on in a child’s experience, and grouping leadership potential with leadership potential can spur on a spiritual “growth competition” for years to come!
IDEA 4 – ALLOW THEM TO EXPERIMENT
Allow them to experiment.
Children can lead people – adults included – in worship. I once experienced the blossoming of a wonderful church worship group in our own community made up primarily of children.
The kids were learning how to play the instruments, how to sing into microphones, and how to do motions in a synchronous way.
The group ended up deeply influencing many people who they led in worship – even leading thousands of adults in a conference! Why?
Someone was willing to take a risk and to allow them to experiment – and one of those children was my own daughter! She is a strong leader today, I’m convinced, because opportunities like this were given to her at a young age. Take a risk on kids – they’re worth the journey of discovery.
You may notice a child going up to the drum set after a worship service.
Although parents are cautious to let them touch, the reality is that musical passions can move in a child early on as they’re drawn to different instruments. Many young men and women found their first love musically because someone said, “Hey, why don’t you try this?” Expose children to different instruments.
See what they’re connecting with, and then give them opportunities to experiment.
IDEA 5 – ENVISION THEM WITH DESTINY
Envision them with destiny.
Blessing children is a broad concept that has deep roots in the Hebrew worldview.
We want to bless our kids by giving them experience, putting our resources behind them, laying hands on them in prayer, and saying, “We will support your future.” These are actually steps in the Hebrew tradition of blessing young people as they move into the future.
The goal is for children to see their destiny, but to see it as their own self-fulfillment or the gaining of power or platform. Rather, we want to model and communicate to them that their destination is a Person – and knowing that Person’s heart for them and the world.
That heart is the heart of Someone who loves them more than any human being ever will. We want to envision children with that spiritual destiny by putting visionary role models around them to encourage them in their leadership skills.
Try at least one idea for the next time you meet.
- Watch for the gifts in the children in your community, then celebrate them. Surround kids with people you want them to admire, and group them with friends that will mutually inspire them.
- Allow children to experiment with both instruments and leadership roles, as they learn how to pray in public, give offerings, or lead a community in a song. But, most importantly, we want them to be envisioned with destiny – who they are in God – from the very earliest stages of their lives. Pray for the children in your sphere of influence to develop as leaders, and bless them in their callings.
- Also, work to limit the negative influences that will inevitably touch a child’s life. Keep kids from experiences that could harm their souls or divert them from their destiny.
All of these ideas come together to aid the positive development of children as Kingdom leaders who care for the poor, who pray for the sick, who give from their resources sacrificially, who love worship, and who understand what it means to be loved by God.
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