Seed planting is a big part of what we do in youth ministry. We spend countless hours with students in hopes that God impacts their lives and they become fully devoted followers of Christ. When we do this, we're planting seeds. Unfortunately, there are many times that we plant seeds in students and do not see the fruit of God impacting their life; one day someone else may get to see the fruit of some of the work we put into the student. But ultimately, our goal should be that we plant seeds in hopes that God uses our time to bring students closer to Him one day. But here's the deal. . . planting seeds is not just limited to instilling Christ-like principles in the lives of students. Planting seeds can also be a way for us to give students a vision for a ministry to others.
Planting the seeds of leadership may be one of the most important things we can do for a student.
Students are looking for direction and a path to follow. By identifying and affirming leadership traits in students, you encourage them to make an eternal impact in the lives of others.By doing this, you are not only planting the seeds for future leadership but you are giving them an opportunity to demonstrate and test their leadership potential in some way while they're still in your youth program. For instance, they could:
- Give a talk (yes, they can do it . . . and do it well!)
- Share a story of a time when God moved in their life
- Be a part of a ministry team, such as a welcome or program team
- Help you plan some aspect of an outreach initiative
- Help out with a younger age group, like the middle school or children's ministry
What if you never see some students fully develop into leadership roles? No worries. Remember, we're talking about seed planting. Keep the end in mind and allow God's timing to take place. Whether God chooses to use them now or down the road, continue to pour into them, trusting that God will use them according to His plan. Encourage their leadership abilities. Remind them of their impact potential. Seed planting is vital in our ministry as it gives students a path to take, and affirms qualities in their lives that can have an eternal impact. So the question is, are you currently planting seeds?
Here's a few thoughts that can help you think about the seeds you are planting:
- Write down the students in whose lives you are currently planting seeds. Think through how you are encouraging them in Christ and in leadership.
- Identify a few other students whom you or another leader can start planting leadership seeds into.
- Encourage your leaders to be planting seeds in the lives of students they are reaching out to.
Investing in your students' leadership ability may not pay dividends for your ministry today, but it stands a good chance of showing major returns in the future life of the student, and in God's Kingdom.