‘Pass the baton of leadership’ to next generation, Scroggins says at Vision Conference

Communications Staff — September 29, 2005

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Governments, corporations, educational institutions, businesses and churches all need leaders, and it is the church’s responsibility to train up youth to fill those positions, Jimmy Scroggins said during the Vision Conference VII at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Scroggins, dean of Boyce College and minister to students at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., was among the featured speaker at the Sept. 17 conference sponsored by the International Center four youth ministry. The conference, which examined the theme “Training the next generation of leaders, “ was attended by 237 youth workers and students.

The baton “is in your hands,” Scroggins said. “And as you run, you have a whole lot of young people who are waiting to take it. And you must deliver that baton to them, deliver it the right way, the legal way, so that when that next young leader takes the baton … you will finish with what the Bible calls ‘the prize.’”

The first step to raising godly leaders is identifying students that can be trained in leadership and taught principles from Scripture, he said. In the process of identifying leaders, youth workers must remember that God’s often chooses unlikely leaders, Scroggins noted.

“That’s what we’re in the business of doing: training up the next generation of leaders. But those leaders are probably not who you think they are,” he said.

“God says, ‘I’m going to raise up leaders, and I‘m going to do it in a way that’s going to confound the wise people. I‘m going to do it in a way that’s going to confound the rich people. I‘m going to do it in a way that confounds the powerful people.’ God raises up leaders.”

Citing 2 Timothy 2, Scroggins reminded conference attendees that God uses the church as a hub to train God-honoring leaders. This reality should cause youth workers to make sure they are identifying and discipling students with leadership potential, he said.

“If you had to point to the people you are training right now, who are they?” Scroggins asked. “… Have you trained anybody? … We should be looking. God’s process is that God’s faithful people identify, recruit and train faithful people and then place them in positions of leadership and then that they network to encourage one another. That’s what God’s process is in the lives of leaders.”

Sometimes youth workers attempt to develop the most popular and most talented teenagers in their churches to be leaders, but God calls them to develop as leaders the most faithful students rather than the most popular, he said.

“We need to look for the faithful ones,” he said. “… Don’t be surprised when those that are wise in the eyes of the world or strong in the eyes of the world aren’t interested in being trained by you. So find the ones who are. That’s the church’s job.”

Someone has to lead the nation and the church, Scroggins noted, adding, “It might as well be one of our kids. Let’s approach it that way.”

Throughout the process of developing leaders, youth workers must obey Jesus’ command in Matthew 9 to pray that God would send workers into His harvest, he said.

“Jesus said there’s one thing we can do, one thing we must do. … He said that we should pray that the Lord of the harvest would send more workers into His harvest,” he said.

“If Jesus tells you to pray for something, how likely do you think it is that Jesus answers our prayer? It think it’s 100 percent guaranteed that if you will pray for workers to go to the harvest and I will pray for workers to go to the harvest, Jesus … will call workers into the harvest.”

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