Foster Keychain Leadership
Action 1: Reinstate Senior Core
Years ago, "Senior Core" was a committed group of Seniors that help an important role in leadership in the youth group through involvement in key areas of Life Nights and other opportunities. While many upperclassmen teens are committed Teen Assistants in Confirmation and EDGE, their involvement beyond their role as a Teen Assistant is often limited. To improve this, we will:
- Reinstate Senior Core (possibly under a different name). This group of Upperclassmen will have a key role in Life Nights by being a consistent presence in all aspects of Life Nights (examples include, but are not limited to: frequent upperclassmen testimonies, creating video series, running aspects of the Life Night). These teens will also be given the opportunity to make key decisions in all programs and will meet on a monthly basis for formation and preparation.
Action 2: Develop a Culture of Upperclassmen Discipleship
Over the past several years we have experimented with various "discipleship" programs for upperclassmen as a supplemental component of Life Teen. Success has varied and consistency is often inconsistent. If we seek to develop our upperclassmen into leaders in the community, we have to help appropriately prepare them for their role.
"It is possible to be real from a distance and still not connect in relationship. While teenagers and emerging adults might sometimes project that they have their act together or want complete independence, [they] desperately want keychain leaders who understand them, mentor them, and personally hand them the keys as they're ready." ("Unlock Keychain Leadership", Growing Young)
Instead of initiating new programs, we will instead build a culture of discipleship to upperclassmen by:
- Having every Coordinator in the department disciple at least 3 teens (Youth Ministry Coordinator, Life Teen Coordinator, Life Teen Discipleship Coordinator, Confirmation Coordinator, and EDGE/Anchor Coordinator). Each Coordinator will spend time on weekly basis with 1 of the 3 teens acting as an older sibling to them. Developing this relationship will primarily be an end in itself while it will also allow for Coordinators to journey and pray with these individuals on a consistent basis.
- Offering retreats designed specifically for upperclassmen. These will seek to form teens on a higher level than general retreats and equip them to live as a follower of Jesus in their current context. Retreats will also foster the building up of the upperclassmen community.
Assessing this Core Commitment in light of our mission
Indicators of success include:
- By August 2017, Life Teen Coordinators will have established a plan for Senior Core along with the teens that attended the Life Teen Leadership Conference and Steubenville LEAD in June 2017.
- By December 2017 the majority of Teen Assistants will be an active part of Senior Core and Juniors and Seniors will have regular leadership roles during every Life Night.
- By May 2017, all Coordinators will have met 3 out of 4 weeks in every month with a teen in a 1-on-1 (safe environment approved) setting.
- By May of 2020, half of the teens that were Confirmed in 2018 and 2019 will be consistently involved in Life Teen.