Barbados FCA Director Dean Squires became concerned with the crumbling leadership he saw as he heard about scandal after scandal from people in positions of influence in politics, sports, the church--everywhere. A coach and ministry leader in youth sports himself, Squires felt the next generation in Barbados needed more positive role models as they made their way through life.
He began praying about how to meet this need, and as he looked around the ministry already happening with his basketball programs with Combined Faith Sports Ministry, Squires set his sights for leadership a little closer to home. Youth in the basketball ministry who display leadership potential are recruited to participate in a new youth leadership program that trains athletes in biblical foundation, genuine relationships, leadership skills and disciple-making.
“They are developed under our nose, but we needed to look around!” said Squires. “We have been developing skills in sport, faith in the Christian walk, and now it’s development of leadership potential.”
The leadership program is intended as a five-year program, with the first two years spent by volunteers pouring into athletes at basketball camps, tournaments and games. As they interact, volunteers spot the young men with leadership potential and invite them into the program. Year three involves step-by-step spiritual formation and the development, and once they graduate from year three, take their skills into a mentorship year where volunteers are available as guides while the youth take their desire to reach others into their homes, communities and teams.
“The fifth year is a monitor year--we release them to do leadership on their own, leaving it to them,” Squires said, adding that volunteers are available as a resource as needed.
The first class of the program graduated from the third year in October and are onto the mentorship year. A new class of future leaders began their leadership year in October.
What has been most noticeable for Squires is the potential the young men already have within them, and how they just needed a little coaxing and the right environment to bring it out. “In that intentional environment, we saw things we never would have seen in their leadership potential,” Squires said. “Some would have doubts about themselves, but to see it materialize in an environment where leadership is emphasized, they really stepped up to the plate and raised the bar for themselves.”
While this first group are pioneering their way into communities, Squires believes even more potential will be revealed through not just a completed program, but to equip and empower the next generation to make lasting impact.
In a way, the program may answer a long prayed-for need Squires and his team have had for years. “We ask for laborers to send to the harvest, and God may be answering our prayers in that these young men would lead in such a way that they themselves will represent and replenish their own leaders.”
Could an intentional multiplication process that fuels a passion in the hearts of young men for their communities and the people around their area of influence be the beginning of greater impact across the Caribbean?
Squires sure hopes so. “I wonder how many of our youth are operating under their potential because they are not in that environment,” he mused. Maybe the answer is learning to lead in the context of a team, especially if lasting impact is the goal. He hopes this program can benefit the FCA family in the long run and cultivate young leaders consciously walking alongside their peers, families, and teammates.
Whatever it takes, Squires testifies that from the beginning, the program has been God’s. “He put it together for us and we are just rolling it out. God definitely answers prayers, but oftentimes doesn’t come in the package you expect it to.”
Most of the time, the unexpected is exactly what’s needed. And in the case of Squires’ quest for fruitful leadership, he just had to look at where he was already planted.
Watch an interview with Dean Squires on the leadership program
View a short interview with a program participant here
Will you join FCA Barbados in praying that God would raise up more leaders to labor in the harvest, and for wisdom in how to lead?
Click here to support Dean Squires and the FCA Barbados mission.
Visit www.fcaworld.org to learn more about what God is doing around the globe through FCA.