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Youthful leaders : The Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes convention in Atlanta. | PHOTO BY NIA JOHNSON

Best Practices: Lads to Leaders, LTC participants offer advice for newbies

Don’t force your kids to do everything, but don’t be afraid to challenge them to try something new.

Christians with years of experience participating in Lads to Leaders or Leadership Training for Christ programs offer that advice to parents of third graders about to embark on their first journey to the annual conventions.

Jack Zorn, founder of Lads to Leaders, receives an honorary doctorate from Harding University president Bruce McLarty, right, during the Christian university’s 2017 fall commencement. In 1968, Zorn launched the training program to help Churches of Christ develop future leaders. Now more than 20,000 believers participate in the program.

On Easter weekend, tens of thousands of believers from Churches of Christ across the U.S. and several foreign countries will gather in more than a dozen locales to test their Bible knowledge, perform skits and puppet shows, practice song leading and sign language and more.

“When we began, we told the kids to do two pre-convention events and one at-convention event,” said Paul Kelsey, a member of the Sylvan Springs Church of Christ in Alabama who has been a part of his church’s Lads to Leaders program for 19 years. Now his children participate in as many as eight projects during the year and do three or four at the annual convention in Nashville, Tenn.

In the winter months, Sylvan Springs members practice on the Sunday afternoons leading up to Easter, Kelsey said. Then, “a week or two before convention, we visit a sister congregation down the road and lead their worship. The girls have a ladies’ devo beforehand.”

This year’s Lads to Leaders theme is “In Remembrance of Me,” a study of 1 and 2 Corinthians. After the Easter conventions, the ministry will host its first-ever convention in Castle Rock, Colo., on April 20-22, said Roy Johnson, the ministry’s executive director.

“It is not about entertainment or having a fun weekend,” Johnson said. “It is about learning to debate, give a speech, or write an article on a timely subject.”

Leadership Training for Christ, meanwhile, will focus on the “King of my Heart,” as children study the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel.

Jan Lemmons and her husband, Paul, have been involved with the LTC Southwest Region for 24 years. The convention is Easter weekend in Tucson, Ariz. Their four children participated in as few as three and as many as 14 events, she said. Most participants average four to six events.

“We have a great person who works with special-needs children to allow them to be a part,” she added. “Our most popular event is signing and interpreting for the deaf.”

Join the conversation: Share your advice for first-time Lads to Leaders and LTC participants in the comments.

Filed under: Lads to Leaders Leadership Training For Christ LTC National

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