Unlock Keychain Leadership - Growing Young Series 1 of 6

By Chris Wilterdink

In late 2016, a team from Fuller Youth Institute published Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church. That book is accompanied by several free resources that can be accessed here.

Through their research, Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin identified six things that churches who engage in meaningful ministry with young people do well. This series will briefly identify each of the six strategies and share a story of a place in the United Methodist connection doing that strategy well.


The researchers identify keys as “the capabilities, power, and access of leaders that carry the potential to empower young people.” Keys provide physical access to a building, and metaphorically they have the ability to welcome people in or lock people out. Leaders in power are those who hold the keys. The more power one has, the more keys that leader possesses in a church. Key chain leaders are aware of the keys in their possession and they are “intentional about entrusting and empowering all generations…with their own set of keys.”

A keychain leader does not horde, or keep keys. They do not lend keys out expecting their prompt return. Instead, they are willing to make sets of keys and hand them over to leaders of all ages in the church, and be willing to go along for the ride. Keys are not handed over haphazardly, but they are entrusted to those empowered as fellow leaders in a community of faith.

At Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin, TN . . . Read more