I had a meeting recently where I suggested students lead and it made everyone in the room nervous. Like sweaty palms nervous. What if their friend is contemplating suicide? What if they have questions they can’t answer? What if they fail?
It seems this attitude is fairly common. It’s one of the things that is hard for me transitioning to High School Pastor from Middle School. I know what Middle School students are capable of pulling off so I expect more of students and their leaders. But sometimes I think I’m paddling upstream and it’s a lonely course.
I think it’s imperative that we teach students to lead. It doesn’t matter if it’s a leadership program or a discipleship program or a small group or an event. There has to be some kind of leadership training for students.
There are a ton of issues when allowing students to lead. Liability, lack of experience, failure, setbacks, etc. are all examples of why we hesitate to allow students the opportunity to lead. But I think we make a huge mistake when we allow those hesitations to dictate our actions.
If we aren’t preparing students to lead now, why do we expect them to lead when they are older?
To me we have to give students opportunities. Here are some ways to help develop student leaders without starting new programs.
1. Challenge them in their current relationships.
Students have relationships with friends at school and also fringe relational connections. Challenge them to live Godly lives in those relationships. Ask for action steps and goals to push growth in their lives.
2. Train them in skill sets.
Yes the Bible is the inspired word of God but it teaches and guides us to live our everyday lives. Students leaders need more than bible studies. They need to be taught how to use those principles everyday. Here are some skill sets teenagers need to have:
- Time Management
3. Give them the gift of
Some of the greatest leaps in growth in my life have happened after failures. It’s where mistakes motivated new intrinsic values. We must give our student leaders opportunity for failure.
What if they mess up? What if they get hurt? What if it’s not safe? What if?
It’s time that we lead like Jesus. He picked a guy that betrayed Him for silver. He picked a guy that denied Him 3 times (that guy was previously called the “rock” of Jesus’ church). He picked a tax collector, the dirtiest of the dirty.
If safety, security, and comfort are your goals for students then great. Don’t do these things. But if you want to develop world changers where risk, danger, and nerves abound, challenge them to lead.