By Michael C. Mack
The Standard Publishing Company that I worked for many years ago had an obvious commitment to children’s and youth ministry. We produced top-selling VBS materials, children’s and youth Sunday school curriculum, take-home papers for middle and high school students, and more. We trained teachers and leaders in our Teacher-Leader Conferences (known as TLCs) across the country.
Today, Christian Standard Media has that same DNA, that same commitment to and passion for children and youth, though it may not seem so obvious at first glance.
The Lookout and Christian Standard work in tandem to play a vital role in developing and resourcing all types of godly leaders in the church. The Lookout, wrote editor Shawn McMullen last year, is a “valuable tool for your personal spiritual development and your growth as a disciple of Christ.” That of course is the foundation for all spiritual leadership. (See Shawn’s article on The Lookout’s new scope and sequence this month.)
Christian Standard exists to equip and encourage all leaders—including children’s and youth ministry leaders, small group leaders, and teachers. We seek to provide biblical leadership principles that will help you lead well in whatever role God is using you.
Discipleship—of adults, teens, and kids—happens in the environment of healthy relationships. Curriculum and other resources can be great tools that leaders and teachers use, but disciples are produced through other disciples, not through curriculum. You’ve probably heard the old adage, “More is caught than taught.”
This theme of discipling kids and teens through relationship surfaces over and over in this issue. Youth minister Matt Cameron said, “In a culture that capitalizes on virtual, inauthentic relationships, it’s more important than ever for youth ministries to provide a safe space for students to be authentic, vulnerable, and real with each other.”
Les Christie, who has been involved in youth ministry for 50 years, wrote about the value he found in taking students camping. “Living with students for a week helps you get beyond surface-level conversations,” he said. “Many lifelong decisions were made there.”
Christ in Youth president Andy Hansen said it this way: “Ongoing mentoring relationships are a must to move forward in spiritual depth and cement ‘flag in the sand’ decisions that are made in such an environment. Therefore, CIY provides leaders with age-intentional, interactive small-group activities.”
Amy Fenton, who serves with Orange, said it most simply: “Life change happens through relationship.” The strategy is brilliantly uncomplicated: “We believe for kids to know God, they need to know people who know God.”
If you subscribe to Christian Standard, I’d like to encourage you as a leader to use it as a resource to help equip and encourage other leaders at your church. Invest in them—it will bear fruit! Encourage fellow leaders to subscribe or, better yet, purchase a bulk subscription for all your leaders. (Click here to “Subscribe Now!”) As you plan your budget for 2019, be sure “leadership development” is a category, and Christian Standard is a line item. Interact with us. Let us know what we can do to better serve all the leaders of the church. Write for us. Our best articles are those written by leaders for leaders.
We’re better together than any of us can be alone. That applies to discipleship and leadership . . . and Christian Standard and The Lookout. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).