An area of youth ministry that I struggle with is forming student leaders. The reason is because every attempt I had I found myself forming an exclusive clique inside an inclusive ministry.
The problem I did not know how to identify a student leader. More times not we look for the popular, high energy and friendly teen. While those are positive qualities what you really want is a student who:
HAS AN EYE TO FILL A NEED
A student leader doesn’t need to be asked. They’ll see a need, address it and take charge. While a teenager does need guidance a student leader more times than not will be quick to jump into action.
KNOWS IT’S NOT ABOUT THEM
We all need encouragement, but a student leader doesn’t need constant praise. They understand the vision, and are learning that it’s about growing God’s Kingdom.
Remind them to focus on Christ. Give them tools to go deeper and consistently remind them to lean on God.
CONSTANTLY RECRUITS, PROMOTES AND SHARES
They don’t have to be outgoing, but they understand that faith is not private. You want teens who are inviting friends, approaching visitors and promoting events alongside of you.
When a student leader recruits, promotes and shares they know that the church is meant to grow. Make sure you are recognizing them for their good work and praise them publicly.
DOES NOT BACK DOWN FROM FEEDBACK
You are constantly investing in your teen leaders. With that comes feedback and criticism. A student leader needs to be able to listen, embrace and use the instruction you give them.
To help them receive feedback deliver it with love and patience. Remember that they are still growing and learning about themselves.
COMMITS TO THE BIGGER PICTURE
Student leaders need to know that there will be ups and downs. If they are only participating because everyone else is, that means they are not willing to step out on the fringe.
You want a student leader who is willing to step out of their comfort zone even if it means they are the only one. To help them see the big picture, share with them the vision and your journey constantly.
When you can cultivate a community of student leaders who see the big picture you create a healthy ministry. Younger teens will develop peer role models. You’ll give them the opportunity to grow and it will benefit the church in the long haul.
Question: What other qualities do you see in a student leader? You can leave a comment by clicking here.