As well as for Leadership staff, this blog is also for local BB Company Captains and other leaders and churches in the partnership they share with Leadership staff.
Leadership will be more effective if there are strong links for each participant with a specifically known sponsor and mentor.
In the High School Theology Program (HSTP) in the US, nominated young people from local churches are sent and afterwards they are mentored for between one and three years. HSTP is different from Leadership and it is similar to Leadership. Those “sent” are those who are ready and available for challenge to consider theology more seriously and to look toward vocation as leaders in Christian ministry. Young men are “sent” to Leadership when they are ready (and available), but often just because it’s the year they are in Year 10 and it is judged they will benefit from it. So, they will come as a mixed group of young men, incarnationally ready, but each unique – the group God gives Leadership to work with in each particular year.
CAPTAINS AND CHURCHES: How you can / need to be involved to reap maximum benefit for your young men, your church and BB ministry
First. Appoint a mentor for each young man. This may be a BB Officer, youth worker, a parent (not their own father), a church person – with at least a 12-month commitment post Leadership. Have a clear and specific post-course mentoring plan. Let’s call him Bill.
Second. Start to recognise and name the developing gifts you see in Bill. Tell him and say that you are nominating him for Leadership because of his gifts for future Christian leadership; his readiness to seize the opportunity in the Leadership community to develop those gifts and consider his future “vocation” (i.e. his call and gifting for Christian service in whatever workplace he finds himself).
Now, “vocation” is a strong word, often restricted for use by certain denominations for narrow areas of ministry. It is used here broadly to encompass the area of Christian ministry each young man will be called to. It may be to be a Christian garbage man, teacher, council worker, doctor, or whatever – and there, be a Christian witness on the front-line. It may be theological college study to be a pastor, youth minister, or other “full-time” ministry worker.
Third. Involve his church in affirmation, commissioning, support (including emotional and financial) and sending. BB, as a youth ministry of the church, needs to be part of the church; part of the intergenerational Christian community and each boy needs to know a number of adults who take an interest in him.
Fourth. Complete and send the pre-course Captain’s Report when requested (See draft format below).
Fifth: Send Bill to Leadership.
Sixth. If you and his mentor can, come to Bill’s course celebration at the end of each stage; then meet with Bill within three days and invite him to share with you his Leadership story. Having already established a post-course mentoring plan, implement it without delay. Mentor: look to ways you can build on his spiritual development; welcome and respond to the tough questions Bill will have about God and life; be involved in encouraging development of his ongoing “vocational” development – as a sponsor and encourager; ensure he immediately has leadership roles – not just in BB and “Kids’ Church”, but real roles in the church.
Seventh. Organise congregational naming and commissioning post-Leadership (e.g. as a young leader in church ministry).
LEADERSHIP STAFF: How you can / need to sow the seeds for others to reap, for Bill’s life-long learning; for vocational focus; for Christian growth; and for taking this home with him
First. Acknowledge you only have 8-9 days; but know they are critical days that can bridge months, or even years, of challenge, opportunity and neglect.
Second. As the in-course facilitator (mentor) know this is a unique privilege and know someone else will take up the role in a few days. Read and absorb Bills’ pre-course reports, knowing that each young man is different and will have a unique experience (though within a group and community).
Third. Make mental notes as the week progresses (“just do it” – the program). You will learn much about each young man. Provide reasonable and sufficient challenge; call each young man to develop a post-course plan. Report to Bill’s post-course mentor (jointly with Bill). Decide if you and Bill will also maintain contact.