Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders 4 Reasons to Expect More from Student Leaders

4 Reasons to Expect More from Student Leaders

Summer is a great time for you to develop student leaders and get them more involved in the youth ministry and feeling like they are making a difference. In order for this to happen, the youth ministry leadership team will need to “raise the bar” and increase their expectations that they have of teenagers (who are more than capable to meet the higher requirements).

Here are four results that we’ve seen happen when more is expected of teenagers:

(1) You’ll weed out the non-leaders. Not all teenagers are ready for a leadership role (and that’s okay). When you communicate high expectations, you will force teenagers to ask, “Am I really ready for this?” This is a strong self-evaluation question. We’ve had teenage leaders tell us, “I wanted to join student leadership a year ago, but when I heard what was required, I realized I wasn’t mature enough. Now I am.”

(2) You’ll attract leaders. It seems that in today’s teenage culture, mediocrity has married status quo and they are producing apathetic offspring. But not all the teenagers in your youth ministry are running from a tougher test. Many are looking for a challenge because they aren’t being stretched in other areas of their life (i.e. friendships, home, school, etc…). When you raise the bar, you will attract the types of kids who want something more. And yes…those types of teenagers do exist!

(3) You’ll witness life-change. When you raise the bar, leaders will rise to the challenge and may even exceed your expectations. Many ministry leaders we know today (including ourselves) got the bug to serve and heard God’s call into ministry while we were teenage leaders (more on that later this week).

(4) You’ll reproduce yourself and become a better leader. Great leaders have a way of developing other leaders. They do so by believing in them and showing them the next big step and challenging them to take it. Define your expectations, communicate them, and help your students live up to them. You could settle for less and never be disappointed…but you’ll simply develop leaders who lack passion. So expect more and be thrilled with the results. And the more you do this, the more you’ll learn about your own leadership, and the better you’ll become at raising up leaders.

If you’re a volunteer youth worker, you can apply this principle to the teenagers who are entrusted to your care and connection. Create moments where you can let someone know that you believe in him/her and paint a clear picture of their next big faith step. You can do it!  

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Doug Fields has been in youth ministry since 1979 and former pastor to students at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of 50+ books, including the best-selling Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry & Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry. He's also the founder of Simply Youth Ministry, an instructor at Azusa Pacific University/HomeWord, and on the leadership team with Youth Specialties. You can connect with Doug through his blog at www.downloadyouthministry.com! More from Doug Fields or visit/subscribe to Doug's blog at www.dougfields.com