Kara Powell is one of the best researchers in the youth ministry world, and she works at one of the best researching organizations in the youth ministry world, Fuller Youth Institute. At Youth Ministry Exchange 2020, she shared about the importance of handing over the “keys of leadership” to students.

Here are my notes from her talk:

  • Underlying conditions: Do we have some in the church?
  • Barna research says that about a million young people a year are drifting from the church.
  • Maybe our good work is not good enough…
  • About 1/3 are still streaming, 1/3 are church hopping digitally, and 1/3 have left the church.
  • While you are spending less time with people today, kids have more time, and many families are finding they have more time together.
  • Important to ask: What will your students and families remember from this pandemic?
  • “A kid may get over what I teach them, but they will never get over what God does through them” (Reggie Joiner).
  • Keychain Leadership: Take the keys of powers and authority and hand them to young people and train them to use them well.
  • I’m here to play so that others can play. The real victory isn’t when we are on the field; it’s when we get others on the field with us.
  • What if you viewed your job as unlocking every person’s gift to the world?
  • Instead of doing more, I’m asking you to think differently about what you do.
  • Instead of asking how can we serve every young person, think how can every young person serve?
  • We ask: What about when young people fail?
    • If young people can’t fail at church, they can’t fail anywhere.
    • What if the church was the one person that allowed a young person to fail well and helped them through it?
  • What if you started keeping track of those who are serving? Turn in your attendance but also turn in additional metrics of success.
  • Young people leave the faith not because we ask too much, but because we ask too little.

How are you handing over the keys to this next generation? How are you empowering teenagers to serve?

Be sure to check out Fuller’s resources around this at fulleryouthinstitute.org/ymx.

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