With all of the news lately about the “collapse of evangelicalism,” the ministry community is desperately seeking ways to prepare future Christian leaders.
Passing the Baton International (PTBI) has unique method: Ignore them. Instead of working directly with youth, PTBI looks for adults with the potential to be “leadership coaches”--people willing to walk alongside young adults and give them opportunities to grow as leaders.
PTBI’s founder, Dr. Jeff Myers, arrived at this unconventional approach after years as a conference speaker. “No matter how many speeches I gave, the young adults who actually emerged as leaders had all been significantly influenced life-on-life by a parent or mentor.”
Myers decided to overhaul his ministry model to stop working with youth and start equipping the adults who influence them. He convened a gathering of ministry professionals to explain this radical shift and was shocked at the response: “They all openly admitted that the ‘direct to the masses’ model had failed. I told them, ‘Guys, from now on, small is the new big.’”
As it turns out, the “small” approach of life-on-life influence leads to big impact. Since 2006 PTBI has conducted intensive workshops with 500 Christian schools and churches around the world, a growth that Myers attributes entirely to word-of-mouth.
“We’ve seen phenomenal results,” says Myers. “Time after time groups are telling us about the breakthroughs they’re experiencing as they change their focus to ‘equip the equippers.’”
If this approach sounds familiar, you’ve probably been reading the Gospels: “Let’s get back to Jesus’ model,” Myers argues. “After all, in three years of earthly ministry Jesus walked with 12 ordinary men, and they in turn changed the world.”
PTBI’s training combines teaching about the life of Christ, practice in coaching skills, and stories of people who have embraced this ancient art of fun, natural and stress-free discipleship. About 10,000 people have been trained since 2006.