Every child in our ministry has been created in the image of God and therefore is valuable and full of potential. Each is on a unique and purposeful journey. Do you believe this? If so, how can you help them develop capabilities that will lead them to becoming healthy, compassionate leaders.

One of the first steps is to listen to them. What they say is important. Get down to their level and try to see things from their perspective. Listening honors and validates them and enables kids to grow and develop and experience acceptance. You will be modeling skills necessary for them to master as they step into leadership.

To really learn leadership, kids need to lead. They need to be more than an observer. Challenge kids to see others in need and empower them to make a difference. They can lead change now in their schools, neighborhoods and churches. This might be committing to sit at the Buddy Bench each week or raise funds to help someone in need. Consider challenges like service projects or developing and coordinating church-wide or community events. Let them lead in Sunday school, on the Worship Team or at camps. Provide meaningful opportunities for them to make a difference. Leadership lessons learned at these young ages will stay with them a lifetime.

Created for and published in Children’s Ministry Magazine. www.childrensministry.com. Reprinted by permission. Copyright Group Publishing, All Rights Reserved.