It is often said in some, if not most, quarters that, “youth are the leaders of tomorrow”. Well, there is a fragment of truth to this statement, except that, youth are also the leaders of today. If leadership is perceived as statutory, then youth are the leaders of tomorrow, but if leadership is understood in regards to earning the right to be followed, then some youth are the leaders of today.
One cogent role of youth in the church and society is to provide leadership that is earned and not statutory in the church or society – although, a type of leadership that is premised on influence. Let’s reflect on the two words underpinning the conceptual framework of this writing—“leadership” and “influence”. These two words spell out that the youth are leaders and influencers in their churches and society. In this writing, I will stimulate your thoughts on youth as earned leaders. Youth as influencers will be discussed in the next writing.
Sometimes the terms we use for leadership have nuances of meanings in different contexts. So permit me to define leadership here from my own point of view amidst the myriad usages of the concept. Leaders are individuals who have earned the right to be followed by virtue of who they are and what they do. When I say youth are leaders, it encompasses two fundamental aspects: First of all, it suggests that some youth have earned the right to be followed. They are ‘Christ addicts’ in deep pursuit of God’s righteousness, which is noticeable in their admirable conduct—they are unemployed because they refuse to make bribery payments or have sex with older adults who demand such in order to get a job. Furthermore, some are without admission into higher education institutions, not because they lack eligibility or the required qualifications, but because they refuse to pay a bribe in exchange for admittance.
Imagine the Acts of the lady, Leah Sharibu; a Christian lady who with some of her school mates was abducted by on February 19th 2018 in Dapchi, Yobe State, Nigeria and still in captivity because she has refused to denounce her Christian faith in Jesus Christ. In this Act of Leah Sharibu, I cannot but say that she has earned the right to be followed and emulated as a leader. I can unequivocally say that young people like Leah Sharibu have the proclivity to do the right thing – at all cost.
Secondly, some youths are freely and wholeheartedly serving God in their respective churches. Their trailblazing endeavours are evident in what they are doing. In that, some are putting their minds to work and creating contemporary approaches to contextualizing the gospel for their generation (fellow youth, teenagers, adults and parents) without compromising the biblical truth. In Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), examples of such approaches are exemplified in church-based ministries in Abuja, Nigeria are “Church beyond walls” and Young People’s Church (YPees) at ECWA Wuse II, “Rhythms Of Life” (ROL) at ECWA Goodnews Maitama, “Youth With A Glorious Sparkle” (YWAGS), “Valentine Extravaganza” and “Intergeneration Connect” at ECWA Central Area, and “Single’s Forum at ECWA Goodnews Jikwoyi… just to mention but a few. These are church-based contemporary and contextual ministries that are lead by youth.
More so, some youth in their potentiality as earned leaders have revolutionized the experience of the Church by introducing software, such as easyworship, pro presenter, shareFaith presenter, worshipTrac, zionWorx, openLP, BibleShow, e.t.c to facilitate the worship experience of the church. Further developments include the importing of ever-evolving technological and computer devices to enhance the worship experience, which is noticeable in the Church visuals, sound and lighting.
Some youth, of a surety, are leaders in their strides through exemplary living and pathfinding innovative models for an upward mobile Church- and society at large.