Friday, May 7, 2010

Can Students Lead?

This afternoon I'm taking a few High School students to East Texas on our church's first leadership retreat. The objectives are pretty simple.

* Broaden their definition of leadership
* Encourage them to lead by using their God given gifts
* Dream about ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus to their peers
* Help them discover ways they can use their gifts NOW

The more I think about it the more I'm convinced that a person can't lead an effective student ministry without somehow encouraging and equipping students to serve / lead. Engaging the potential of students is a necessary step in a ministry's growth.

Here are some random thoughts on beginning the process of thinking through equipping students to lead.

* Ask students for their opinion.

Sit down one on one with a student and ask them what they love about the student ministry. Ask them what they struggle with. By asking and listening carefully you'll learn a lot but also communicate how much you value this student.

* Ask yourself the question, "what are adults doing that students could / should do?"

There is very little adults do that students couldn't participate in at some level. Sure we want a balance of old people like us around students, but we need to think through opportunities for students.

* Help students dream

You may see gifts and passions in their life they can't see. Part of our role is to help those who are younger think through the question "what if?" What if God really used them to shake their campus, or lead a small group. They're not getting up every morning thinking this way we need to help them.

Throughout the weekend we're going to have some guest bloggers. I'm asking students to share their thoughts and experience as we go through the weekend. It could be rich!


  1. This is so true! I grew up being a student leader for David, and can say without a doubt that it helped my relationship with God tremendously. Having the opportunity to lead gave me good things to do for God and was much more effective than being told a lot of things I couldn't do. I know I grew as a person from it too and the skills I gained in experience cannot be replaced.

    Working in youth ministry now, I have seen the flip side of this. While it may seem easier to just do it yourself or let an adult take care of things, it is so much more fruitful when students lead. And I have been blown away by what they are capable of. All it takes is someone empowering them and giving them the confidence they need (and youth pastors can do that).

    Thanks for letting me be a leader David.

  2. Dude, thanks so much for the comment Evan. It was easy to hand over huge chunks of ministry to students who loved Jesus and their friends like you did. I was blessed to be a part.