Youth Leadership……………………………………..Kristen Baltrum

One of the places that churches have been trying for years to incorporate young people has been in congregational leadership—like search teams, or even a token youth position on the church council.  We all know that it mostly hasn’t worked.  But sometimes it does.  It has blossomed in new ways at my church as we are pushing to integrate young people.

We have incredible young leaders here in our congregation, one of whom is being mentored by a young adult who is our incoming Youth Ministry Representative on the church council. Together they make a great team, and the time was right to include this teenager, alongside this young adult, on our council. So they were voted in as a team.  But what happened at the annual meeting brought tears to my eyes. Not only were these two gladly welcomed into official leadership roles but then an older member of the congregation stood up and gave a shout out to another teen who has been serving on our Intern committee all year.

The room applauded loudly. Then, when the next nominating committee was being formed, another older member nominated one of our jr. high students to be on the committee. She accepted the position. I sat back and watched this congregation affirm it’s young leaders with tears in my eyes. This was no longer about TOKEN positions set aside for youth, it was a natural process of recognizing leaders period.  No longer was the message about apprenticing youth into leadership being preached, it was being lived.

Kristen Baltrum has been working in Youth Ministry for seventeen years, and she doesn’t even look it.  She serves and lives in Longmont, CO.

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