by Roy Johnson
Why is Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes effective? It is a proven tool with over forty years of success in building Godly leaders. Why is it effective? It is a well-rounded program with a core of spiritual soundness.
There are five basic reasons that Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes is different than other training programs.
The beauty of this program is the bringing together of all ages at a congregation to work on a common goal. Rather than sending the youth off to a classroom to work on Bible knowledge, Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes encourages involvement of the older people with the younger in the form of mentors, as well as working together on memorizing scripture, doing Good Samaritan projects, and many other worthy goals.
Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes is not about simply “getting ready” for a big yearly event. Those congregations that see tremendous growth in their youth and congregation get involved with the year-round events like Teach to Teach (a Bible teacher training tool), Know the Books (learning the books of the Bible), and other worthy year round events. There is no substitute for daily spiritual training at the local congregation and Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes provides the tools.
The classroom materials offered by Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes are written by grounded respected authors in the brotherhood. Training materials from kindergarten through adult is offered. The Field Book of Leadership is a one-source training manual for teaching servants for public worship.
There are now over 250,000 adults who were trained to be effective Christian leaders in Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes. The results show that the retention rates of youth involved in Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes is outstanding.
The consistency of the Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes program is constant no matter where you are. Biblical soundness is upheld in everything we do. No matter what McDonald’s you visit, the fries are the same. No matter what convention of Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes you visit, the spiritual soundness is the same!
It is a shame that in modern society, work has become a dirty word. People want fast food, fast cars, fast technology and they want their youth to be trained to be Christians without much effort. That is just not possible. Becoming the kind of Christian leader that will stand strong against false doctrine takes a great deal of training and effort. It is not uncommon for a congregation to look at the work involved in implementing a Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes program and deciding to go another direction. I had a church leader tell me once that it is easier to take them bowling. It is easier, but is it better?
The work is hard, but it is gratifying. Ask the people who worked hard to train their now grown youth if it was worth it? I am sure they will say yes!
Pointers for building a strong Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes program
- Participate in the year-round events that build Bible knowledge and servant attitudes, such as (but not excluding other year-round events): Centurion of Scripture, Parade of Winners, Know the Books, Good Samaritan and Teach to Teach.
- Get as many adults involved as possible. One or two people cannot run a Lads program. You need adults who have a mind to work (not just the youth).
- Get a refresher course every so often on the new events available. One congregation who had participated for years, asked us to come up with a training program for training teachers. When we told them we already had four years ago, they were amazed. We provide free refresher workshops for congregations. It is easy to think you “know” what events are available without checking to see what is new.
- Use your youth in the congregation’s events such as VBS, gospel meetings, fellowships and devotionals and Ladies Days. The goal is not only to train them, but to use the skills they are learning.
- Don’t get stuck in a rut. If you have always participated in the same ten events and never ventured out to try something different, make a goal to try one new event each year. When congregations tell us their youth are “tired” of Lads, it is usually that they are tired of the same events they do each year. We have 37, and seldom do congregations do all 37 events!
- Don’t take on too many events when you are new. Sometimes, congregations get burned out from trying to do too many things at once. Start small and build on that base each year. Don’t over load your adult volunteers or your youth. Remember that they have school events, sports, and other activities in their lives, too.
We have such an opportunity to change the Lord’s church for the better. When we train our youth to be workers now, we have taken care of the workers for years to come!
Roy Johnson is the executive director of Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes program. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.