Peer ministry and student leadership groups take a lot of time. If done right it can transform not only your ministry, but the entire church.
The challenge is finding teenagers that are gifted and committed to leadership. If either of those lack then you will only find disappointment and frustration. To avoid the sour taste that student leadership can sometimes bring help teens take the lead by:
PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW
Teenagers often learn about leadership in school and in sports. As a youth minister you need to open up the scope of leadership on a spiritual front. That means bringing them to conferences and workshops. Give them books and introduce them to the leaders that inspire you.
ALLOWING THEM TO FEEL THE WEIGHT OF RESPONSIBILITY
Leadership can be strengthened through experience. While you want to set your teen leaders up for success it’s important not to be over protective. Let them feel the stress that comes with leading. Allow them to take risks and even fail.
In the end it’s important that they know that leadership isn’t just about accolades and attention. It requires making big decisions in big moments and owning the outcome.
(For more on raising the bar on students read HERE)
GIVING THEM A ROLE MODEL TO INSPIRE THEM
While you can offer your teenagers a lot it’s important to expose them to others. Make sure your teens meet people in your church and community that exemplify those qualities.
Create opportunities where the teen can shadow that person and even set up a time where they can sit down and share life. By giving them a role model you expand your capacity to invest in them.
CREATING LEVELS OF LEADERSHIP
Too often we communicate that leadership is just standing in front of a crowd wowing them with your words and presence. The truth is that leadership has many different qualities which require different arenas.
Provide opportunities for your teens to lead behind the scenes and up front. Give them the responsibility to lead peers as well as adults. Give them a broad scope of where they can use their gifts and talents to influence others to move.
(For more on leadership qualities read HERE)
FOLLOWING UP AND REVIEW
Leaders are constantly striving to grow. Make sure your teens are growing in the right direction by following up with them one on one and reviewing vision and mission.
Help them understand the importance of receiving feedback. Let them know that an important part of leading is having the courage to ask themselves, “How am I doing?”
Investing in student leaders has it’s challenges, but the rewards are great. Make sure you are constantly investing in the next generation by giving them the opportunity to lead. In the end you’ll impact their future and the future of the church.
Question: How are you developing student leaders? You can leave a comment by clicking here.