In a small church, opportunities are presented for children and students that aren’t always available to kids in larger churches. It’s not that larger churches don’t develop leaders, it’s just that they have to become much more intentional, with limited opportunities, in raising up the next generation for leadership. Typically, for larger congregations, it has to become more formalized through internships, training and clearly marked paths for leadership potential kids to follow.
However, in a smaller congregation, it happens more organically. Kids are invited to serve, sometimes out of necessity. They find themselves in front speaking, leading music, playing songs, working the tech booth, mowing the church lawn, helping in the nursery or helping to teach even younger kids in Sunday school.
The quality of kids in leadership isn’t always 10 out of 10, but they grow in skill through opportunities. In a smaller church, where everyone is highly interconnected, students are lovingly supported as they serve. Of course, the students are either related to many in the church or, at the very least, longtime family friends. In a larger, more presentational church, students in up-front leadership don’t always translate well to those with whom there is no relationship.
Smaller congregations should capitalize on this opportunity. Give students a chance to serve in ministry roles. Give them a chance to serve in leadership. Give them a chance to become what God is calling them to be. Awaken in their lives the possibility of not only following Christ but serving his church.
I’d love to hear from current ministry leaders – what size of church did you grow up in? Did it have an impact on the way you were able to experience ministry leadership?
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