Here are two stories from Africa on what happens when we give children and teens the opportunity to serve and lead others.
Children Who Lead
Can children lead other children and be one of God’s workers in the harvest? Betty in Kampala, Uganda thinks they can. Betty leads the Children’s Ministry at her church involving 1800 children and 91 leaders. Each Saturday she invites any children aged 3 – 12 years to come and help prepare to lead Sunday school the following day. Usually, 20 – 30 children attend from as young as 3 years old. But what do the 3-year-olds do? “Lead prayers & sing,” says Betty “they are able to do this”. The strategy is proving to be transformational for both children & the weekly ministry.
One Saturday the children simply spent the afternoon washing toys that were used in the children’s ministry. “We had no idea what a sweet opportunity this would present,” said Betty. “The children who came felt important and needed as young leaders and helpers. Suddenly we found them chatting & sharing about personal issues, in a deep way. It was a very special day and we had no idea that washing toys could do that!” said Betty excitedly.
The children help lead the Sunday school session, run games, pray, sing, read the Bible and some have been involved in outreaches to a home for children with HIV, a remand home for juvenile offenders and doing house-to-house visits.
Mentoring and developing of young leaders is key to Betty’s strategy. During a holiday camp earlier in the year Betty wrote “7 passionate teenagers were identified and trained to work with the 10 – 13-year-olds during camp. Each of them was placed to lead along an adult leader to mentor them further as they led. One of the teenage leaders who is a talented singer shared deeply with the kids on how she had been consumed by secular music and the dangers she had got into. This was a very emotional session when about 99% of all the kids made commitments to leave secular music.”
Betty’s advice to anyone thinking about involving children:
- Children connect with other children easily and with the right message, can be powerful in reaching their peers.
- Child leaders are still children so they need mature adult leaders to mentor them.
- Children communicate to adults effectively when they are given an opportunity. Their message is not sugar-coated. And they are very enthusiastic about what they do.
Kicking Teen Leaders
Football-kicking teens from a club in Agbodankope, Togo, West Africa recently found out that “leadership is not about position but about serving” enthused Eric, a children’s & sports ministry champion from Togo. For a week the teens were exposed to the gospel, shown the love of God and servant leadership. They were trained how to handle and obey the Bible and how to share the Gospel.
The camp was designed to prepare the teen leaders to serve a community and apply all that they had learnt. The result? They ran a KidsGames event for 300 children in their village, attended by the village chief and parents. Eric said, “it was (a) great success and opened (a way) for the Gospel in this village.”
Eric’s assistant head of the camp was Wisdom, a young man Eric has mentored since he was a teen. Now Wisdom initiates many such camps and gospel initiatives in villages across Togo.
Eric wrote: “the impact of the KidsHub leadership camp were many.
- Teens were convinced that there is a hope in Jesus.
- All 23 teens gave their lives to Jesus.
- They have confidence and are ready to serve their own community.”
Another outcome of the camp was 15 teens sought forgiveness from their parents during the camp recognising they had behaved badly towards them. Both parents and camp coaches were touched by their decision as a result of the training in the camp.
Another camp in a village called Sodo Zion saw 21 leaders from 3 different KidsHubs based in Lome come together to run a village outreach for 50 young people. Each morning Discovery Bible Studies were run and 150 adults and young people came from the Sodo Zion village to be part of it. The leaders encouraged the young people involved to be part of serving the old people of the village fetching water.
Eric said, “our young leaders experienced the joy of serving others. The village has also learned how they can involve the young people to be engaged in community transformation. We also ran KidsHub training to show how they could launch the next KidsHub in Sodo.”
Teen leaders are a powerful resource. Are you building up and equipping yours?
Written by the KidsHubs Team These stories appeared first on KidsHubs.
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