Training your student leaders is some of the best time and effort you can invest for the Kingdom. First, you set them up to be successful in their volunteer efforts in your church which will set them up as lifelong leaders. Beyond having those students available to be key leaders in your ministry, training up student leaders when they are young pays off big divedends for the Kingdom as they leave your community and serve everywhere.
Most of my experience is with Texas Youth Academy, but if the Texas Youth Academy doesn’t work into your students schedule or travel plans, there are a verity of other diverse (theologically, programmatically, financially & geographically) through the Lilly Youth Theology Network (youththeology.org) or the Foundation for Theological Exploration.
One of the students involved in the Texas youth academy said that “It is something I think about daily, and not lightly at that. I can truly say that TYA changed my life because of the impact it had on me and my passion for ministry and the Bible. I realized the approaches I’ve taken to ministry and the thoughts I have on theology have been shaped due to my experience at TYA. It has caused me to think about God’s will for my life and how I can make a difference within the church as a part of the body. The things I learned at TYA are things I never want to let go of which is why I want to continue to expand my learning in seminary. TYA is my family and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”
How do we organize the event? For two weeks during the summer, a group of high school students, specialized mentors, seminary professors, artists, musicians, and others come together in Central Texas for the Texas Youth Academy Students participate in an intensive encounter with Christian life that strengthens their calling into ministry and boosts their confidence that God is shaping their future in radical and exciting ways. Each day includes worship, Scripture, study, small groups, service projects, art, and Communion. The current sophomore, junior, & senior students that are selected to attend will learn about the Christian faith with faculty members from various seminaries. They will practice this faith with other youth from across the state and a pair of dedicated adult mentors.
The Texas Youth Academy exists to deepen discipleship through theological education, spiritual formation, and Christian community. It is ideal for leaders in your youth group that are willing to challenge themselves to grow deeper in their faith or are feeling a call into ministry, either ordained or laity. Another student said, “During TYA God was calling me to go outside my comfort zone. Afterwards, I felt a calling to take further responsibility within my church.” More information and applications for both students and staff can be found at texasyouthacademy.com.
I believe that all of us are trying to grow, so that we can help our youth and families grow. Texas Youth Academy, and other theological programs, help in supporting the groundwork laid by your local churches, for the future of the Church. It aids in encouraging, identifying, and supporting these passionate leaders of the Church.