The national Lads to Leaders convention has just been completed. Countless hours were spent preparing for this big weekend, and our kids had a blast! We came home excited…but also exhausted.
So why am I already writing about preparing for the 2018 convention?
Because we love the year-round events, and today I want to encourage you to be involved in them (even if you are not involved with Lads to Leaders!).
What are Year-Round Events?
When most people think of Lads to Leaders, all they consider is the convention that is held annually on Easter weekend. At that convention, young people are involved in speech, debate, song leading, oral Bible reading, art, Bible bowl, and puppet theater. These events gain a lot of attention, of course, because they happen at the convention itself and so much work has been put into preparing for these.
However, there are many other events that young people work on throughout the year at home. Personally, we like these events a lot. They can be done on your own time, at your own pace, and you can start working on them right now.
Some of them take a long time to complete, while others can be done in just a few hours’ time. Thus, they are “year-round,” because they are not done at the convention, but at home throughout the year.
What Can We Do?
Our family tries to emphasize several of these events with our kids each year. Sometimes we complete them; sometimes we don’t. Either way, they show our kids that Lads to Leaders is more than just “a trip,” and it also is teaching them to be involved in growing in their faith 12 months out of the year; not just in preparation for one weekend event.
Here are some of the events we have tried, with a short explanation of each. [For a complete explanation, you can download the pdf of the Lads to Leaders rulebook here.]
Centurion of Scripture. This is my favorite event for the kids to do. In Centurion, students memorize 100 verses of Scripture. They can even do this one verse at a time! This is perfect for family Bible time, and it is a joy to watch your children meet this challenge.
Good Samaritan. We have done this event off and on, but the students earn “points” for doing acts of service throughout the year.
Junior Leaders. This event for K-5 is one that was new to us this past year, and I was honored to teach our congregation’s Junior Leaders. Students meet for a class on leadership four times during the year, learning about a different Bible leader. Then, they also complete at least four service projects as a group. I loved meeting with our leaders!
Keepers. Based on Proverbs 31, Keepers helps young ladies prepare to be able to do certain things in their homes in the future, such as table setting, sewing, gardening, and more. This is a wonderful event to have mentors for, so there is intergenerational interaction in the congregation.
Providers. This event is the same as Keepers, but is for young men, and emphasizes some skills they will need in their adult years, such as basic plumbing, financial basics, and more. Make note of the fact that boys can do one Keepers event each year, and girls can do one Providers event each year. For example, this past year, all our Keepers and Providers learned about First Aid kits.
Know the Books. Starting with learning how to sing either the Old Testament books or New Testament books, students grow by being able to say the books without singing them, then learn a theme for each book. We have worked on this in our Pew Packers at 9th Avenue throughout the years, and it is amazing to see the kids learn these long lists!
Read the Word. The event is just what it sounds like. Students are challenged to read the Old Testament, New Testament, or both during the year. I’m proud that our two have both done the New Testament the last two years! This year, Turner is trying to read the Old Testament, and Mary Carol is making a run at the whole Bible!!!
Teach to Teach. Technically, Mary Carol was too young to be involved this past year, but we let her try it, and she will be involved this year. In this event, students learn how to teach a Bible class by sitting in with a teacher, then helping, then (eventually) teaching a lesson. A great mentor event!
Year Round Bible Reading/Study. We started this for last year’s convention, but did not finish. Students read the Bible to others, but must complete a certain number of readings by the deadline. This event’s highest level also incorporates the Advanced Bible Reader from Apologetics Press, which we wrote about in this article.
Year Round Bulletin Board. Students change their congregation’s bulletin boards a certain number of times each year. We have a zillion bulletin boards in our church building, so several of our Lads to Leaders participants have been “assigned” a board. Mary Carol and Turner both try to change their board about once each quarter.
Year Round Song Leading. Turner completed this event this year and was so proud. Students simply lead a few different songs throughout the year to different audiences. There is also an event for young ladies, and we hope Mary Carol will do that this year.
Bible Bowl Test. In addition to the Bible Bowl team event at convention, there is an individual test given in February over the same material. We also have our kids take this test as a way to see where they stand in preparation for the test at convention.
Mass Media. This has many different categories, and both Mary Carol and Turner wrote an article/editorial this past year. (Mary Carol’s won 3rd place!) We hope they will want to do an audio presentation this year, too. This is a great event for students who want to expand their knowledge of ways to present the Gospel.
There are other events that are also year-round that we have not yet done. Here they are:
GIFTS is an event for girls in grades 6-12, where they study a book together and complete projects. Mary Carol wants to do this this year.
GUARD is a similar event, but is for young men, grades 6-12.
Headed to the Office is for young men and is meant to prepare them for, one day, desiring to be an elder.
Second Langauge helps students learn to use a second language to speak simple phrases, as well as to teach the Gospel. (One of the coolest things I’ve seen was a couple of years ago where a student earned an award in Second Language, and her “second language” was English!)
Year Round PowerPoint Presentation lets students help in making presentations for sermons or classes at various times throughout the year.
Year Round Speech lets students present various speeches at different times during the year.
Pearls is a classbook that is based upon the Bible Bowl books for the year, but is more of a “topical” study, and a test is given in February on the book’s material.
Why Should We Try These?
That list can seem overwhelming, no doubt, but we love emphasizing these year round events. Picking even one or two can be of great benefit, even if your family is not involved in Lads to Leaders.
Why? Because they are organized, and provide you something to shoot for!
For example, if you choose to work on Centurion of Scripture, instead of just saying, “We’ll memorize some verses together,” you now have the challenge of memorizing 100 verses during the course of a year.
But if you are involved in Lads to Leaders, let me challenge you to pick a few of these events and get started! They help instill in your children the need to grow daily, and they continue to be thinking about Lads to Leaders throughout the year!
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn