In recent years, I have found great value in having a student leadership team. It’s not cliché, its true…Jesus spent additional time with a group of men to give them individual attention and help them reach their potential to start the early church. In these student leadership teams, the goals are on a much smaller scaled compared to Jesus and His disciples, but the goal still remains to help them reach their spiritual potential and to be the next generation of leaders in the church. Here’s some tips that have helped make the student leadership team a reality.
Ain’t No Such Thing as Small Potatoes. Don’t be afraid to start small. The first year I hosted a leadership team, there were only 2 participants. Small is not always a bad thing. Individual attention was given. Questions were answered. Real progress was accomplished in this small group.
Where do is sign? Please make sure to have an application process. You can’t just have a sign up list on the side of the youth room, and hope each person becomes a leader. Have some requirements right off the bat like an application, and even an interview. The requirement of the student leadership will be lofty, so the application process should not be just putting your name on a piece of paper.
Little Help Over Here. Don’t be afraid to go find some help with leadership training. May I make a suggestion? The good people at LeaderTreks, particularly the 365 Leadership Training, is a great place to start. Additionally, I scour the Christian leadership blogs, often sent to me by ChurchLeaders, and use the blogs as an opener to each of our meeting.
Thank You For Coming…Now What? In addition to the leadership training curriculum and leadership articles, the key part of leadership training is the concept of “level above”. It is a requirement for each participant to serve in the church in some capacity. But that’s not enough to just serve in children’s ministry as a volunteer. We take it a “level above” and require the student to teach or lead a portion of that children’s ministry. If children’s ministry is not their thing, the requirement for volunteering in other areas of the church are go a “level above”. We discuss each person’s individual assignments at the beginning of each meeting.
Put Them in the Game, Coach. Part of training leaders is to give them opportunities to lead. Sounds simple, but it takes some steps of faith, patience, and willingness to allow failure. Sure, you could plan youth events easily by yourself. But in leadership training, you must allow them to take the lead. In the past, I’ve allowed students to plan events like the Christmas party, Super Bowl Party, and a Compassion International event. But the doozy was the Easter Egg Hunt. The teens were placed in charge, planned out the schedule, sought out volunteers, made phone calls, prepped the materials…it was their show. Talk about a step of faith. But let me tell ya, in the end, this was a valuable learning experience in leadership that was well worth the effort.
Personal & Prayerful. Spend some time with them. Ask for personal requests. Invite them over for a lunch prior to the meeting so you can get to know the students. Find ways to make the meeting time special so students want to come, and younger students have something they look forward to.
What do you do? How have you built student leaders?