We have probably all heard the comment, “the youth are not just the Church of tomorrow – they are the Church of today!” It has become one of those phrases that are used to inspire young people into action in the Church. The fact is that it is up to adults (and us as Directors of Youth Ministry) to help make that statement true. If we are not advocating for young people (see chapter 2), then they are lost in the Church today, and if we are not teaching them to be leaders, then they will be lost in the Church of tomorrow.

The ministry of leadership development is meant to help young people to recognize their God-given gifts and talents and to educate them on how to use them to glorify God. While it is true that some people are natural-born leaders, most people become good leaders through education and coaching. The pages in this chapter are just a brief overview of the types of skills that can be taught to young people to help them to become stronger leaders.

Furthermore, if we want to build strong Christian leaders, then we need to start with strong Christians. Certainly this is omitted from most leadership training and resources in the secular world. Unfortunately, it is often not a large component of leadership development in Catholic circles either. Young people need to develop a deep faith in Christ, an ability to communicate that faith with others, and a solid understanding of the Church and the truths that She teaches. This is imperative if young people hope to lead the Church today OR tomorrow, and reiterate the need for strong Catechesis (chapter 3).

This chapter contains a chart which shows how Jesus demonstrated leadership qualities.

Many of the skills which are discussed in this chapter are skills which we also need to develop to become more effective at leading other adults. Information is provided about the Catholic Leadership Institute which offers leadership training to Directors of Youth Ministry or their entire youth ministry team.