Last week a small team of youth and adult leaders pushed off the sandy bank of the Edisto River for a 23-mile canoe trip. Our destination, the tree houses. Our goal, to make it back in one piece and to learn a little about how God has wired each one of us. Throughout the journey, the wildlife was on full display… turtles, gar, kingfishers, herons, bowfin, bass, osprey, snakes and even an eight-foot alligator (thankfully it was dead).
The group was divided into paddling teams, two per canoe and loaded down with enough gear, food and ice for two nights on the river. It was hot… very hot. With no running water or electricity, the black water river was the only relief. So, we spent a good part of the day in the water.
The morning and evening were spent in leadership development sessions. Each one designed to help students become more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and to challenge each one to have a greater impact in the roles in which God has placed them. Students were assessed in three areas:
Leadership Design: Individual Wiring
Leadership Balance: Skill Refined by Godly Character
Leadership Style: Tasks vs. Relationships and the need for both
Through studying scripture, assessment tests and group discussion, we witnessed light bulbs go off as students saw (some for the first time) how the Lord shaped who they are and has created them to be.
In Psalm 139 David proclaims this truth when he said “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
In addition to the study, the Lord provided many opportunities to see individual wiring play out in real life. There are no better illustrations of differing leadership styles than watching the team canoe around obstacles together, working to stay cool, the team effort of mealtime or even having to problem solve a minor fire incident in the kitchen (not as bad as it sounds).
One of the goals of Uptown Church is to be a leadership greenhouse, raising up and sending out leaders for the kingdom of God. The Lord is blessing that effort in the lives of our youth families. I am so thankful for these students and their desire to be used by God. Join me in praying for them and their continued growth as godly leaders.
If you would like to know more about getting involved in the youth ministry at Uptown Church, please contact Wes Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to go to our website to learn more about family centered youth ministry.