Last week we spent six days with youth leaders and students that spanned from Orlando to Anchorage. We did an intensive training week called Lead THE Cause University.
This intensive was designed for high will/raw skill Dare 2 Share alumni who are already living THE Cause (i.e. making disciples) and equip them to LEAD THE Cause (i.e. make disciples who make disciples.)
It was intense. It was exhausting. It was awesome.
Here are my top five takeaways from Lead THE Cause University:
1. Teenagers can absorb a lot more than we give them credit for.
The typical day at LTCU had teenagers and youth leaders in training sessions from 8:45 until noon (with worship and a short break), afternoon put-it-into-practice type activities (from a powerful concert of prayer at Columbine to an evangelistic outreach to a vision-building time in the mountains to more!) and night interactive training times and motivational sessions. It was hard but in a good way...like Navy Seals training for the soul spiked with worship and humor.
I didn't hear one complaint from one teenager all week even though the record breaking heat of upper 90's into the 100's turned our meeting room into a sauna. Teenagers, not only endured it, they embraced it with sweaty arms!
What made the sessions especially effective were the roundtables. Youth leaders and teenagers were able to interact during and after the sessions with table talk questions and activitites. This ensured teens were tuned in and helped them build their strategies right from the start.
2. Youth leaders want to be stretched to accomplish GREAT goals!
On the final full day of LTCU we had youth leaders develop their GREAT goals for their youth ministries. GREAT is an acrostic (of course!) that spells out God-honoring, Radical, Exact, Achievable and Time-targeted.
I was blown away by the quality, thoughtfulness and faith-stretching nature of these goals. These youth leaders have identified their geographic areas where they are going to, by God's grace, lead THE Cause and have measurements in place to see whether or not they are gaining ground on their goals.
Like the US Army we equipped them to "improvise, adapt and overcome" when they go back home and their plans hit the fan so to speak. They discovered how to fail forward toward their goals and to refuse to stop praying and persisting toward their ultimate goal being accomplished.
3. Intercessory prayer hits a much needed chord in the evangelical church.
The week started with a bang. It actually started with a "Bang! Bang! Bang!" on heaven's door as we equipped these students and youth leaders in the lost art of intercessory prayer. During this time we equipped teenagers how to use the Lord's prayer as a guide and how to pray like a Bible hero (aka "Daniel"). It was awesome and powerful.
As I told the teenagers "Intercessory prayer has been hijacked by little old ladies and crazy people. It's time for us to take it back! It's time to mainstream the extreme!" I hoped from square one that the emphasis on prayer would set the pace for the entire week. It did and then some! Youth leaders and students were set free to pray and learn to intercede for their campuses, communities, churches, youth groups and friends!
The week was worth it just for the prayer emphasis, let alone the leadership principles, how-to-launch-a-movement training and the many other next level principles we taught these 267 leaders with at Colorado Christian University.
4. God has blessed us with an amazing team.
I have always felt this way but LTCU reinforced it. From the Dare 2 Share staff (who worked tirelessly behind the scenes) to our great volunteers to the Legacy Sound and Light team to Everfound to Zane, Propaganda and Wilson, God has given Dare 2 Share an amazing team of champions to advance THE Cause.
I praise God for the gung-ho willingness that each of them displayed. As Jason Petty made clear there are "frontliners, backgrounders and come-along-siders" that advance THE Cause on different fronts. Our team of all three did this for a full, hard, hot week at LTCU and I'm deeply grateful!
5. We are definitely going to do this again next year.
Mark your calendar for July 14th-20th to be in Denver for the next Lead THE Cause University. We are already brainstorming adjustments to make the week even more powerful. If you're a youth leader plan on bringing your on fire students who are already seeking to live THE Cause. This week will equip them (and you) to lead it! If you're a student tell your youth leader you want to go. If you're neither pass the word on to your youth leader.
I'm still exhausted from last week's intensity...and I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's a good tired. Get your "good tired" on with us next year at LTCU. You won't regret it.
Viva LA Cause!