It was an amazing sight, really.
On a recent Friday, as tornado sirens sounded in Rogers, Ark., 1,000-plus Leadership Training for Christ participants and sponsors crowded into a hotel ballroom.
The ballroom served as the shelter in the storm — quite literally — for the young people and adults whose prayers and singing mostly drowned out the thunder overhead.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how calm and understanding everybody was,” said Macey Cossey, an Embassy Suites manager.
After the tornado warning, a Bible quiz on Revelation proceeded in that same ballroom as students tested their knowledge of the Scriptures they had spent months studying.
At Leadership Training for Christ (LTC) and Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes (L2L) conventions across the nation that weekend, not everyone experienced the same level of weather-related excitement.
But in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Memphis, Mobile, Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix and elsewhere, equally amazing sights were on display as thousands of young people filled convention centers.
Some preached. Some led singing. Some read Scriptures. Some competed in Bible Bowls.Others did service projects and used art, drama, puppets and choral groups to connect to the conventions’ Bible-related themes. All showcased their talents for the Lord.
We praise God for the faithful Christians who have worked hard to make these events fruitful for God’s kingdom and pray that LTC and L2L will help future generations of leaders blossom.
At the same time, we urge children and coaches to have a clear perspective:
• Too much of a good thing: It’s wonderful when a boy or girl wants to be involved in a puppet show, a drama, a service project, a small chorus and a Bible quiz. But in some cases, young people overextend themselves. If children are so busy with the “events” that they don’t have time to focus on God, then they may lose out on the true spiritual rewards.
• Too much focus on competition: We can become so enamored with perfection and results that LTC and L2L become more like youth sporting events than positive tools for training church leaders.We love the giant smiles on the faces of young Christians rewarded with plaques and trophies for their LTC and L2L accomplishments. But let’s help them focus on Christ rather than on the accolades.
• Too much attention on a single event: After months spent helping our children develop their talents, let’s not stuff those talents in a closet — or an isolated corner of the auditorium.
Why not regularly include young men on our congregations’ lists of Scripture readers, song leaders and even preachers? Why not let children help teach each other by using the puppets and drama skits to supplement Bible lessons all year long?
LTC and L2L represent wonderful tools for increasing our children’s excitement about the Bible and their knowledge of it.
With God’s help, may we make the most of these tremendous opportunities.