Monday, December 10, 2012

Jumpstarting Student Leadership - The Big Game

As youth workers, part of our responsibility is to help students discover how God has gifted them and longs to use them for his glory.  If students are never in a ministry role or in a position where they recognize they need God it could be difficult for them to experience the joy of God working in them and through them.

Believe me, when a 17 year old student knows she is going to stand before her peers and teach the Bible, she becomes very needy!  Her time in the Word and her prayer life take on new meaning.  Our job is to remind students over and over again that Jesus provides the grace to serve and impact lives.

There are many approaches to student leadership development.  Most are good and should be considered and utilized from time to time.

An idea that results in great momentum and focus in student ministry is the "big game" approach.

As God gives vision for an event, gathering or trip, consider the possibility that students could be the leadership / servant team for that event.

For example, last month our ministry hosted a student led worship service for middle school and high school students.  Students led in most aspects including...

Developing a theme / topic for the event
Developing a prayer strategy
Creating a fun / welcoming environment

We began preparation 2 months in advance by meeting with our student advisory team.  After explaining the purpose for the event we discussed the message they would like their friends to hear.  As a team we settled with the idea that "true love and acceptance can only be found in relationship with Jesus".

As students settled into these teams they understood that God was going to use them to bring powerful ministry to their peers.  They planned, they prayed and then they led a great event fueled by God's grace and their excitement.  The student ministry staff didn't have to beg them to come and bring their friends, the students led the charge with an all out social media blitz.

Other "big games" may include leading VBS, a local service project or a mission trip.  This approach creates great morale, momentum and focus for a group of students as they realize they're not just watching ministry they're actually preparing for ministry.  They own it, they promote it and they get to enjoy the beauty and mystery of God using "the weak things" to accomplish his purposes.

Remember, this approach isn't about the event, it's about the process!  This is relational discipleship.

The "big game" gives an excuse to help students discover, develop and utilize their gifts.  As you meet with them and point them to Jesus they begin to lean into him and their faith is strengthened.

I've seen God use students in remarkable ways!  As students lean into Jesus and experience him working in them and through them they become more aware and dependent on the gospel in every day life.

So, if your wanting to get student leadership started in your context consider a "big game" approach. Be prepared to be surprised and amazed at how works in and through your students to bring glory to himself.


  1. Fantastic Post! Love what you said about the "Big Game" also possibly being a VBS or Mission Trip. The students getting experiences leading is a huge part of LeaderTreks' trips. Not only does a student need to be taught principles, but also they need to get experience! It is awesome seeing students get closer to God, especially if they are being led by their peers! Thanks for the great thoughts on student leadership!


  2. Hey Brandon, thanks for chiming in...

  3. Our churches inactivity teaches that the more people are content with listening to another person the less they will try to influence others. So having students engage in a way that causes them to lead will phenomenally strengthen their resolve for Christ and ability to do the mission of Christ. Great Post!!!

  4. I know! To be honest many times it's easier to just do it yourself than equip someone else to do the ministry. Sometimes it's hard for me to get out of the way and let others minister. Thanks for chiming in.