As middle school director with Youth for Christ, I still wear lots of hats, and my days can look different from one to the next, but each role and facet of my position is what makes this job the perfect fit, for me. From meeting one-on-one with students, to speaking to adults about partnering with our organization, or even brainstorming ideas for our newsletters and donor emails, I get to work in a ministry I love and use talents that have been strengthened through different experiences.
One of the things I love about Campus Life is our mission to train leaders. Our best leaders aren’t the ones who run clubs from start to finish. They’re the ones who empower other members of their team to find where they can serve, and hand over the reins. We are constantly developing new leaders and encouraging them to find their strengths in order to serve our students well.
One of the most important ways we can speak into the lives of teenagers is to help them find things they love to do and where their talent shines. When they find this ever-important intersection, they can excel in something they love – which gives them an even deeper sense of accomplishment and pride. Helping them determine this place of passion and talent early can change the course of their entire life.
It’s so important to really look for the strengths and talents teenagers already possess, and to pay attention to what they get excited about. Noticing a student who loves working with children, and is good at engaging them, could point them to the path of being an educator. Seeing a student excel at science, who also supports classmates and is a caretaker, and pointing those traits out to them in a positive way, might show a them that they would be a great nurse. Sometimes, a student comes along who is a natural born leader and is magnetic to their peers. Encourage them to try out campus elections, or leadership roles.
Helping teens find their talents and passions will cost you one thing – time. The only way to really understand where they shine, and what they love, is by spending time with them: sitting on the sidelines and cheering for them, driving them to practices, or investing in their activities. We can spend a lot of time focusing on things teenagers are doing wrong, and we can miss the chance to praise their accomplishments and encourage their passions. By taking the time now to help them discover how they can use their talents in a very intentional way, you can completely change their course.