LEADERS RAISE UP LEADERS Last Fall, Kristi Reeves was part of a team from the San Marcos Seventh-day Adventist Church to attend the Growing Together Summit held in San Antonio. Her team, as well as teams from over 20 other churches, embraced core commitments that can make a church a great place to grow. One of these commitments, Keychain Leadership, talks about entrusting young people with access and authority to be of influence in their local church. After the summit, Kristi and her team were inspired about what they learned and eager to share it with their congregation. They even made intentional plans to help their whole church love next generations better. In fact, Kristi had some ideas as to how to apply the core commitments as soon as the next weekend. “I thought it would be great to have young people help with greeting on Saturday mornings,” said Kristi. When church leaders give opportunities for next generations to be involved, it helps young people form a sense of identity, belonging, and purpose within their church. “The younger people were so excited to greet, some of them headed out into the parking lot to welcome people and hand out compliments,” said Kristi. “It was incredible.” That’s where five-year-old, Sarah Sidlo, came in. Adult greeters, Vilma Resendiz and Kristi, invited Sarah to join their greeting team one morning, and the glow on Sarah’s face could only be matched in the responsive warmth of those she welcomed to church. Sarah was so thrilled to be a greeter at church that, following that experience, she marched into the pastor’s office and asked if there was anything else she could do in the church. Sarah was fired up.
BY A. ALLAN MARTIN When young people love their church and embrace responsibility and leadership, the whole church benefits. Growing Young Adventists is about drawing next generations into the vitality of church life and discovering not only the vibrancy of intergenerational relationships, but finding Jesus at the center of it all. Growing Young Adventists is a learning journey for local churches and leaders helping to build faith communities that will not just survive, but thrive in the years ahead. It is an intergenerational movement nurturing relationship building and cultural transformation that embraces young people and benefits all generations in the Adventist church. Sarah is one of tens of thousands of young people who can, even at an early age, be invited to serve in their local church. It will take additional effort and require building trust in youth and young adults, but if Sarah is any indication, it is well worth it. Churches that embrace Growing Young Adventists have leaders who are raising up leaders. For more information and/or to join in the Growing Together Journey, go to GrowingYoungAdventists.com.