Developing Faithful Leaders | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
April 2016

Developing Faithful Leaders

By Rori Blakeney (SEJ)

I remember sitting in my office at Hoosier Memorial United Methodist Church like it was yesterday . . . Diana and Ben Mould’s two sons, Gabriel and Moses, were in my group.
Diana had stopped by my office during “Thank a Youthworker Month" with a card.
The card read:

David defeated Goliath as a youth.

Mary followed God’s plan as a young woman.

Billy Graham met Christ as a teenager.


For all the future

Davids, Marys and Billys

that you are

influencing today.

It has been over a decade since I received this card. But, it reminds me of the primary work that the church is called to do – develop faithful leaders.

Developing faithful leaders starts with baptism. An act when we commit ourselves to care and nurture others in the Christian faith. I often wonder how we keep up with those adorable babies we welcome into the church. Do we create and share appropriate facilities and engaging educational material to assist them in exploring their faith? Do we realize the significance of our promises in a baptism as the community of faith?

A person's faith development does not stop with baptism. Confirmation plays an integral role in developing faithful leaders of the church. It gives young people, and the church, the opportunity to examine the nuts and bolts of what we believe. One of the elements of confirmation class I enjoy most is the assigning of mentors. Confirmands and mentors travel on a journey of faith together. They learn from each other and learn about each other. Together, they learn more about the church as they sit in committee meetings, worship services, and Bible studies. This relationship gives both individuals a glimpse of the inner workings of the church. This relationship also gives both individuals a glimpse of each other, as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ.

Still, the work of developing faithful leaders doesn’t end with confirmation. It should continue in everything we do as a church body. Worship services, Christian education, and mission and outreach experiences should all grow out of our commitment to develop faithful leaders.

So how might you encourage the development of faithful leaders? I suggest you start with Wesley’s Means of Grace. Study the works of piety and mercy. Each of these actions can help young people grow into faithful leaders.

Personal Works of Piety

  • Reading, meditating and studying the scriptures
  • Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Regularly attending worship
  • Healthy living
  • Sharing our faith with others

Communal Works of Piety

  • Regularly sharing in Holy Communion,
  • Christian conferencing
  • Bible study

Personal Works of Mercy

  • Doing good works
  • Visiting the sick
  • Visiting those in prison
  • Feeding the hungry
  • Giving generously to the needs of others

Communal Works of Mercy

  • Seeking justice
  • Ending oppression and discrimination
  • Addressing the needs of the poor

Developing faithful leaders is a life long process. Make a commitment to start today!

For a 4-minute video on piety and mercy, check out Episode 86 of Chuck Knows Church.