Yesterday, I suggested five practical ways in which you can support CU leaders in your church. Here are five more.
6. Encourage them to serve in non-time intensive ways at church. CU leaders will love being part of your church, and will be keen to serve. Unfortunately, like many young people, they’re not always very wise in their time use. Bear in mind that CU leadership is an 8-10 hour per week commitment – so rather than involving them in time-intensive youth work, ask them to serve in important but less time intensive ways. You might add them to the Sunday coffee rota and the PA team for a start.
7. Give them books. CU leaders need to be readers. Place books into their hands that you’ve found helpful, or which you think might enrich them as leaders and as disciples.
8. Introduce them to people. You’ll almost certainly have been in your city longer than your church’s CU leaders, and know more people locally than them. So why not take it upon yourself to introduce them to others? Others who will pray, others who can offer their expertise, others who will be a moral support to them…. Who might you introduce your CU leaders to?
9. Encourage them to share in church gatherings. CU leaders can sometimes be slow to volunteer themselves to share encouragements, discouragements and prayer points in a congregational setting, often because they don’t want to be seen to be putting themselves forward. But you know that the wider church will want to hear what’s going on. Do what’s necessary to get them sharing publicly from time to time, so that the whole church can see CU ministry as part of an extension of the local church’s ministry.
10. Check that they’ve got the resources they need. A few timely questions to CU leaders can make sure that they’ve got what they need – both personally and as a CU – to make the most of missional opportunities. Ask them if they’d like any extra support from church as they lead. And ensure that the CU has all it needs for the upcoming months – you may save them the last minute mad dash to try and find a barbecue, a gazebo, fairy lights, John’s Gospels in Chinese or big enough saucepans!
One of the questions I’m commonly asked is: how can we best support the CUs in our city? Here’s part of the answer: to encourage and support the CU leaders who are already in your church. Over the next couple of days, I’ll suggest ten things that you can do to support the CU leaders in your church, whether or not you are on your church’s leadership team.
1. Pray for them – and let them know you are. This is perhaps the best way you can support CU leaders. Just as Paul always let those he was praying for know what he was praying, so might we. One friend I know prays for CU leaders as she texts them to let them know she’s praying for them.
2. Ensure they’re getting trained for their role. We ask that all CU leaders attend Forum, our national leadership conference, plus a regional weekend. There might occasionally be other local training too. Encourage CU leaders in your church to get as best trained as they can. Ask them whether they have enough money to pay for conferences and the travel to and from them.
3. Offer hospitality to them. Students love a home away from home – and this is true of CU leaders too. Have them back on Sundays and offer them home-cooked food over which you can get to know them better. Perhaps invite them to bring a couple of friends with them too – this can be a great way of getting to know a few of their non-Christians friends.
4. Offer to cook. Jesus did much of his ministry over food – it was a way of demonstrating something of the welcome and generosity of his kingdom. CUs love using food in their ministry too, but are often hampered by a lack of cooking facilities and/or skill! Ask whether there’s an upcoming event that you and perhaps your home group could serve at through cooking.
5. Ask them questions. Asking questions indicates interest. One of the most encouraging things for CU leaders is to know that others in church are interested in what they are doing. Ask them questions about what’s happening in CU like you might concerning any other aspect of your church’s ministry. That’s what a CU is: students coming together for mission in an inter-church partnership. And asking questions can also sow the gospel into the students’ hearts, leading them to repentance and faith in their own Christian walk as they lead.