There are many examples of God calling teenagers to follow him and to serve in the kingdom in a specific way. The students in your church are at a great age of needing to discern where God is leading them and what God is calling them to be.
Everyone is called in two ways: There is the call to salvation and the call to serve God.
Mature spiritual leaders help provide an environment that will alert students to God’s voice. Someone once said, “We must not conform to a society that muffles the voice of God.” Here a few practical ideas to think about:
Prayer – students need someone praying for them as they respond to God’s grace. It’s God who does the work in the heart. If they are going to sense an awakening of God’s spirit leading them into ministry, it’s going be through his power and the power of prayer.
Mission is priority – mission, on both a large scale and a small scale, instills in students that faith is action. Loving God and loving people is a foundation to following Jesus! It raises students up realizing that it’s not about them, but about God.
Talk about the call – how can you nurture a student who may be sensing a call into ministry? For starters, include it in your vocabulary. Through everyday conversations, tell how God led you to the place you are right now. It may be a miraculous encounter with God that led you to this point or it may be that someone invited you to help with a youth retreat ten years ago and you’re still here (incidently, another way God leads us – through the voices and invitations of others). There are many different ways that we can wind up serving in the church. Talk to students who show interest in talking about it.
Everyone is called to serve in the kingdom – and some of those roles include leading ministries, congregations and disciples. Though it’s both humbling and amazing to serve in the church, it’s still just one of the many ministry roles that need to happen in the kingdom. Ministry leaders deal with same stuff as other people. They are real and are in need of God’s grace as much as anyone. Help students see the practical side of ministry – litterally, God can use anyone and in many ways to serve in the church.
Give them roles in ministry – kids don’t have to sense a call into vocational ministry to assume ministry roles! But for the ones that do, giving them something concrete to work in helps them solidify their commitment, their gifts and their faith.
Don’t be afraid to help kids explore – we don’t want to put pressure on them, but if you hear a student talking about loving your job or thinking about something like this, visit with them practically and enthusiastically. Let them know that it’s ok to check into it. Ask questions. Spend time in prayer. And just see where the Lord is leading and which doors are opening.
Incorporate adults to model ministry in all ways – Whether it’s a mission trip, a Sunday night ministry event, or small group studies, you need faithful, loving and stable adults to serve with you. Without these adults, you students may get the impression that living out faith stops when you graduate. At that point many choose to drop out or take their place among those in the pews who may disengage to some degree. An example of this might be that you should work to have as many adults on the summer mission trip as you can. Model ministry for life, not just for high school. Students need to see that teachers, doctors, IT guys, nurses and others are also living a life of ministry – both at work and church. Their involvment in your ministry in crucial.
You don’t have to be an “official” pastor or theologically trained to nurture a student who senses a vocational call into ministry. Remember the Lord is the one who does the work. When we are walking close to the Lord and with the students, the rest will happen.