best practices for leadership

How To Empower The Next Generation Of Leaders

I could not be prouder. It was one of those special weekends at our parish when parishioners come up after Mass to share their testimonies. A teenager from our high school group shared her story during the noon Mass. She spoke of a time when attending Mass was simply a routine, influenced by her family's habits. However, as she became more engaged in the liturgy and the youth ministry, her perspective shifted. What made her testimony even more powerful was that people of all ages were present to hear it.

To connect with the next generation, finding ways to amplify their voices within the parish community is essential. Feeling heard fosters a sense of belonging. Achieving this outside of your immediate ministry can be challenging. That's why empowering young voices involves:


Even though some individuals are born leaders, they still require nurturing in various capacities. If you entrust a young person with leadership, ensure they understand how to delegate tasks and manage both their time and that of others. An apprenticeship approach is most effective, allowing them to shadow you or another experienced adult. This hands-on experience offers opportunities for real-time questions and feedback.

Moreover, expose them to workshops and conferences to learn from seasoned leaders. Familiarize them with diverse leadership models and assist them in discerning which traits resonate with them.


Consider the opportunities in your parish for young voices to express their opinions. Are they involved in decision-making processes that could shape the trajectory of your ministry? Introducing them to leadership often means assigning responsibilities that come with real-world implications.

I advocate for integrating young individuals into the parish council or leadership teams. Their involvement offers them insights into the decision-making process and allows other members to glean fresh perspectives.

Positioning young people on platforms where change is feasible empowers them, affirming their innate abilities. It fosters a sense of belonging and kindles an eagerness to delve deeper into their roles.


Every young individual has a unique story waiting to be unveiled. Although not all are comfortable sharing their journey in large settings, there are myriad ways to encourage them to express their faith. Whether through small group discussions, social media, artistic endeavors, or team gatherings, teens should be equipped to manifest their faith.

While we don't have enough space in this post to explain each paradigm, a starting point is to have them pen down their stories. Workshops, retreats, or even small group settings can be conducive environments for this exercise. It can be beneficial to offer reflective prompts about their early faith experiences, their evolution, and their current spiritual direction.

This practice helps them articulate their faith journey and reinforces the idea that while their bond with Christ is intimate, it isn't secluded. Encourage them to rehearse their testimony before a close-knit group for constructive feedback and, most crucially, affirmation.

Let's not shy away from entrusting our youth with leadership opportunities. This gesture conveys their significance, assures them of their rightful place, and emphasizes their role as change agents. By accompanying them on this journey, providing them with platforms, and encouraging them to vocalize their faith, we pave the way for them to emerge as the luminaries of faith our world desperately seeks.

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