Superior! That’s what we are all shooting for, right? We want our students to receive the highest marks on their evaluation sheets, all for the glory of God!
For most students, a lot of time, energy, and determination goes into preparing for their five- to ten-minute presentations. Receiving those scores is the ultimate end to all that hard work and effort.
Or is it?
I believe too many times the focus of Fine Arts is on the final score. The motivation has become the presentation and the subsequent evaluation. However, I would like to submit to you that the ultimate end is hearing “well done, my good and faithful servant.” I would like to submit to you that the Fine Arts program is a needed discipleship tool that can grow your students, change your youth ministry, and impact their world. I submit to you that the Fine Arts program is about the process, not the presentation.
The Fine Arts program is designed for students from all over the country, from any size youth group, to discover, develop, and deploy their ministry gifts.
As leaders, we must realize the importance of taking an active interest in the lives of the students in our group. It is necessary to get into their world. What do they like to do? What kinds of things makes them tick? Where do they want to make a difference?
We should be talking to them about what they want to do with their lives. As we get to know our students better, along the way we may realize and recognize the potential they possess—potential they might not yet see in themselves.
Because of this, even if it is outside their comfort zone, we should urge them to explore other areas of interest. Reassure them that this stage of discovering gifts often includes a trial and error process, so it’s okay if the end result is not what they wanted or expected. Encourage them with Romans 12:6, which tells us we all have different gifts according to the grace given to us.
So, let us answer the call to help students explore their interests, skills, and abilities. As these conversations continue, we can guide them toward discovering ways God wants to use their talents and interests—their gifts—to further His Kingdom.
Being a leader also means we should be providing opportunities and encouraging students to develop their gifts.
One way to do this is by connecting our students with a trusted person (or people) in the church or community who has the same interests and skills in a mentoring relationship. Many adults are looking for opportunities to pass on their knowledge to someone who is interested in what they are gifted in.
And then it’s time to practice, practice, practice. Famed football coach Vince Lombardi said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Don’t be afraid to coach students and provide constructive criticism as they continue to develop. No student wants to embarrass themselves in front of their peers. They want to be better. They want to excel. Therefore, we must help guide them toward excellence.
As certain giftings and talents reveal themselves through preparation, it’s also important to help them connect with other students who have similar interests and talents. At this point, comparison can raise its ugly head, but don’t allow that to happen. Be proactive in using the language of development: “We’re all at different levels, but all want to reach the same place—being the best we can be.”
The last step is just as important as those mentioned above. We need to provide opportunities for our students to use their gifts in our youth ministries, in service to the church as a whole, during outreaches and missions trips, and in the community.
Find ways to incorporate and include them to deploy their service and ministry gifts. Utilize all talents and abilities your students possess, and even consider those outside of what is usually seen at Fine Arts festivals.
As you help students discover their gifts, you may find that they have a knack for things like service, lighting, encouragement, or design. Ask them to help set up the stage for an illustration, or work in the sound booth. Maybe you could form a team of students to greet newcomers. Approach creatives in your ministry to design slides for your sermons.
There are countless ways students can develop their God-given abilities, but it’s a leader’s responsibility to create those opportunities if they do not already exist. As a result of their involvement, students will take ownership in and stay connected to the church. Then we have the privilege of watching them engage with God and His Kingdom on a whole new level that inspires loyalty and greater commitment to His mission.
But remember, ministry is not limited to the church. Ministry is a lifestyle. Students need to be a light in their world, so encourage them to use their gifts wherever they are. As Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Fine Arts is about so much more than a five- to ten-minute time slot at a district or national festival.
Fine Arts is a discipleship tool designed so leaders can teach their students how to effectively use their individual talents and abilities to spread the gospel. When students understand the importance of cultivating mentoring relationships, forming discipline routines, and serving their church and community well through their gifts, the Fine Arts process can lead to honoring God and drawing others to Him.
Now, if you made it to the end of this article you get a Superior!
 Matthew 25:21, NLT.