Next month, our family will attend our church’s annual Family Camp weekend. One Sunday a few weeks ago, I was approached by a member of the camp planning team, who knew of my background in camping and youth ministry. Casey asked if I would consider leading the brief children’s “sermon”/spotlight portion of the Sunday Chapel service. My initial response was hesitation, but I told Casey (honestly) that I would pray about it, since God had apparently brought my name to his mind.
A day later, my prayer had an answer. I was not to decline the offer; I was to accept, but as an opportunity to work with and develop another young leader for whom this would be a fantastic opportunity. I confirmed this idea with Casey, then approached the person God had laid on my heart: my 13-year-old son, Taylor. As I suspected, he was thrilled to be asked and eagerly accepted the challenge.
As Taylor’s mom, I know he has raw but natural gifts in the area of communication, he loves working with kids, and he is fearless in public speaking and performance settings. Although he currently thinks he will pursue a career in drama or creative writing, he is also thinking about options in teaching or ministry. The Sunday Chapel service at family camp, with his mom’s help and his church’s support, will be the perfect environment for him to grow.
I got my start in ministry in much the same way. When I was a college student, my youth pastor invited me to take a leadership role back home over the summer. A worship pastor at my college church invited me, a beginning guitarist, to play along with him during our small group. And a staff person at my Christian college routinely invited other students in the youth ministry department to accompany her and help with music and speaking gigs at various camps and conferences. Each time, I was thrilled and scared to death at the same time. But with each opportunity, I grew in skill, understanding, and confidence in my gifts and calling. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those apprenticeships.
One of my doctoral professors once told my class that all of us have someone who wants to follow us. In whose life and leadership are you currently investing?