Let me introduce you to three friends—Emily, Maggie, and Bradley. Each of them love Jesus. Each of them love VBS. Each of them are serving in key leadership roles in VBS at their church. And each of them is a teenager. Yes, that’s right they’re teens, serving as integral members of their church’s VBS team. Bradley is even beginning his 4th straight year as his church’s VBS DIRECTOR and he’s not even 20 yet!
I met each of these incredible young leaders at one of our national VBS training events called VBS Preview. They represent a growing number of young leaders who’ve grown up in VBS and who are now ready to take on the mantle of leadership and service. In fact, if you take a moment, I’ll bet you can think of at least one Emily or Maggie or Bradley in your church who is ready to learn and eager to serve.
Research conducted in 2007 and 2016 indicates that children & teens who regularly served in church while growing up are more spiritually healthy and less likely to drop out of church once they reach young adulthood than their peers who did not serve in church. The more teens see themselves as an integral part of the body of Christ, the more likely they are to stay connected, and to keep serving.
This presents us with an incredible opportunity. We have the potential to actually impact the future by offering teens opportunities to serve today. Of course, this requires work on our part to make sure teens are well equipped, well trained, and able to take on the responsibility of sharing the gospel with kids. But, it is an opportunity we cannot afford to pass up!
VBS is an easy “first serve” for students. It’s a natural fit! Often, serving in VBS is viewed as a type of rite of passage. Kids grow up going to VBS as participants, and then once they age out of it they begin to serve in VBS. Many teens have a deep love for VBS and are happy to have a way to still be involved. Teenagers bring energy and enthusiasm to VBS and are often the key in helping preteens stay engaged. An older teen guy can make anything seem cool to a fifth or sixth grade boy!
Teenagers are capable of so much more than just being “helpers” at VBS! They crave real responsibility and thrive when the bar is set high. In my experience, people will almost always rise to whatever expectation is set for them. Teens are hungry for meaningful work and ready to tackle any challenge we can throw at them—even the “non-glamorous” aspects of VBS.
Teenagers are like sponges ready to soak up the wisdom and experience of the leaders with whom they are paired. Many are eager to learn anything we will teach them. By serving alongside seasoned leaders as equals, not just as “helpers,” students can learn to serve with excellence and develop new skills that will allow them to serve in children’s ministry—or wherever God calls them to serve—for the rest of their lives. I truly believe that we all benefit when we take the time to invest in, equip, and mentor young leaders.
This year at our VBS Preview events, we’re offering a special track just for student leaders (ages 16-22) and a special discounted rate to help you equip the young leaders in your church for success in VBS. I want to challenge you to identify the Emilys, the Maggies, and the Bradleys in your church and bring them with you to VBS Preview. Not only will you reap the benefit of having well equipped, well trained leaders on your team, but you’ll also be helping to develop young adults into the servant leaders God is calling them to be!
To take advantage of the discount student leader rate, or to reserve your spot at VBS Preview, visit our event registration page here: https://www.lifeway.com/en/events/vbs-preview