Tag Archives: leadership training

6 Tips to Build a Student Leadership Team

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? 

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5 Tips for Developing a Student Leadership Team

First, you get a whole bunch of kindling, then start a big fire, make some students take off their shoes, and tell each of them they need to be a leader..

Okay, maybe it worked for Moses, but you don’t need a burning bush incident to get your students to be a leader.  Here are 5 tips for starting a Student Leadership Team:

  1. Announce or Don’t Announce – The small dilemma of announcing or not announcing leadership training being offered, I feel is a tough one.  Some youth pastors will simply hand pick those they feel are ready for leadership training or discipleship.  While others may want to announce it and see what follows.  Either way, this is the start of the process – getting the word out.
  2. Age Limit – While leadership training happens throughout the process of youth ministry, it is smart to limit the formal training to upper classmen.  This, hopefully, will eliminate the maturity issue and also allows the younger students to have something to look forward to in the future.
  3. Keep the Bar High –Don’t settle for uncommitted, only doing this so it looks good on their college application, parents made me be here, couldn’t care less…students!  Make the requirements high and KEEP them there.  Attendance at meetings and regular youth group times, doing the homework, and even behavior/spiritual development requirements are a must.
  4. Make ‘Em Earn It -Why not make them earn their way.  Make them interview for the position on the leadership time.  You may even want them to get recommendations filled out by other adults/parents/teachers.  Those that really want to be on the team will do these things and will be more likely to be committed to your team down the road.  This is another way to weed out the garden, so to speak.
  5. Blueprints – Don’t be afraid to plan ahead.  Find the curriculum, book you want to assign, compile notebooks…and the list goes on.  Work ahead so it resembles an actual training course.  This will get easier the more you have the leadership training meetings

More ideas…bring it on!  Would love to hear what works for your student leaders.


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