The Cornerstone Junior Leadership Council, which launched in January 2020, consists of 10 dynamic middle school students who are eager to sharpen their leadership skills as they collaborate with their peers. The group was formed after Algebra teacher Connie Jennings saw a need that was missing in middle school.
“I believe one way we can disciple middle school students is to give them instruction and opportunity for godly leadership,” said Jennings, who is the council’s sponsor.
Jennings began by reaching out to all middle school students, and those who were interested were selected through a brief application process. Once a month, these 10 dedicated students arrive early to school with a desire to help and connect with other middle school students.
“I tell them each time we meet that they can honor God by reacting positively to things that happen, by stepping up to serve their teachers, classmates, and family. I also encourage them to dispel gossip and negative talk,” said Jennings.
And a meeting just wouldn’t be complete without food.
“My favorite part is planning and getting snacks every time,” added Joell Alleyne (7).
Planning With a Purpose
While the council has been quite busy getting to know each other, its purpose is much grander.
“My hope is that the Lord will help these students learn to encourage others, see and meet needs, and make wise decisions as they set an example at school,” said Jennings.
The group is learning leadership skills that will help them serve others and serve the Lord all through their lives. It has given them a sense of how powerful it can be to make an impact, one person at a time.
“I’ve gotten to know people that I never would've talked with otherwise,” said council member Sara Provost (8).
“My favorite part of the council is how much fun we all have," added Caroline Abney (7). "We all communicate and do what we need to, and we haven't ever had a meeting without someone laughing.”
Serving Their Peers
The Junior Leadership Council has taken the initiative to identify school challenges and brainstorm solutions. They started the year off by organizing the annual middle school dance, “The Snow Ball.”
Members of the council, along with Jennings, took care of every detail of the event. From how much food to order, to coordinating the games, no detail was left out.
Abney added, “When planning the middle school dance, we all came together to form ideas, and we modified them based on personal preferences. Everyone had a great time!”
What’s Next for the Young Leaders?
Later this month, members of the Junior Leadership Council, under the guidance of Pastor Nolan, will help with the Elementary Mother-Son Game Day.
The council will also focus on implementing ways in which to help out in the community and at school, whether it's raising money for an organization, taking a day to go help at a local charity, or simply speaking life over their peers at school.
Council member David Baines (8) has advice to others who may be interested in getting involved.
“Pray about it and see if this is where God wants you to be," he said. "I would also tell them to look at this verse in Mark 10:42-44 NLT - So Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you, it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.'”
Rising 7th and 8th grade students should be on the lookout for 2020-21 Junior Leadership Council applications in August on Google Classroom.