As a leader we are asking those we lead to be imitators of us. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s just plain terrifying. I am the Kids Lead for our broadcast location at Next Level Church, and I walked into this position as a new Christian. When I say new, I mean brand spankin’ new. I gave my life to Jesus in December of 2016 and started leading NLC kids the following April. This question was terrifying me: “how can I lead people in their relationships with Christ when I myself am so new in mine?” Now, I completely trust in God, and I know he would never put me somewhere if I couldn’t handle it, so I prayed for him to calm my anxieties and he did just that. During the interview process I was told, “You can be a new Christian, but be more Christian than those that have been in the church all their lives.” This, for me, is why I am here today. I know that leading people in something when you are still learning yourself is scary, but it is so incredibly rewarding.
LEAD OUT OF LOVE.
"Let all that you do be done in love." 1 CORINTHIANS 16:14
We please God when our leadership is motivated by our love for others. I may not be able to quote the Bible front to back, and I don’t have a Bible verse in my back pocket to whip out for inspiration, but I can and do love others. So maybe that is why God called me to a leadership role. People come to us because they are broken in some way, and they are seeking Him. We will never be able to help them in their walk with Christ if our motives are worldly. We will never be successful in leading others if we treat each team member as a means to an end.
This applies to leading both children and adults. Children need love to grow. I recently had a child in my class who has seen more pain in his life than most adults I know. We get one hour a week to lead him and to show him the love of Jesus Christ. It is my responsibility to lead by example and show him kindness, grace and love, and by doing that, my volunteers will do the same. Leading out of love takes you much further than leading out of authority and demands. When you lead out of love, love grows and it spreads faster than wildfire.
YOU GROW AS YOU GROW OTHERS.
“Remember your leaders, who spoke God’s message to you; reflect on the outcome of their lives and imitate their faith.” HEBREWS 13:7
This applies to everyone really, not just new Christian leaders. But I think as a new follower of Christ, I learn far more when I am building others up. I see things differently each time I interact with a volunteer or team member. I am asked questions that I may not know the answers to, which forces me to seek out the answers in scripture, from my pastors, on the internet, and anywhere else I can find wisdom. As a leader you have to be open to learning from those you lead, even if those people are 5 year olds.
For me, as a new follower of Christ, I get to teach people how to lead kids, while they lead me in my walk. It's a win-win for everyone. One of the best parts of NLC Kids is the passion. People who want to serve in NLC kids have a passion for Christ, kids, family, and church, but most of them don’t know where to start. There is a saying at NLC: “We hire for the person, not their talent.” In other words, we want great people, not experienced people.
Children are the next generation of world changers. It is SO incredibly important to remember this when leading them in their walk. We want to raise these kids to be loving, kind, honest Jesus followers. So if you are new in your relationship with Jesus and you are thinking about leading kids, ask yourself “Am I loving, kind, and honest?” If yes, then you can lead these kids to greatness, because anyone can open the bible and teach them scripture but it takes someone loving to grow them up to be more like Jesus.
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. PROVERBS 22:6
Meagan is the Kids lead at Next Level Church's broadcast location. She is passionate about teaching kids the love and grace of Jesus. In her free time she likes to volunteer at the local Animal Shelter and hang out with her family. She is happily married with two wonderful boys.