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10 Tips for Developing Student Leaders

Last week, I posted 10 ideas for developing leaders on your youth ministry team. The list was focused on developing adult leaders on our teams, but you and I know it’s important to develop student leaders, too. Here are 10 ideas for developing student leaders in your youth ministry:

Ask a student to share their story. Have a student share in front of the group how they came to know Jesus or how they were impacted by a recent service project or retreat.

Make a list of things at youth group that adults don’t have to do. You’d be surprised at how many things you do each week that you can ask some students to do, whether it’s running the computer or greeting students as they arrive. Have students do those things instead; they’ll be honored that you asked them to help.

Ask students to serve in small ways. Whether it’s stacking chairs after youth group or vacuuming up a mess, students will learn that leading means serving.

Connect students with serving opportunities in the church. Find out what a student’s passions are, and help them find a way to use them to serve your church (and not just your youth ministry).

Ask students to tag along as you do your job. Shopping for food for an event? Ask a few students to join you. You’ll have a lot more fun than you would have on your own.

Solicit advice from students. When you’re making a decision, consider asking a few students what they think. You’ll teach them to make decisions based around vision and serving others, not just their own preferences.

Let students plan a service event. Chances are that you have some students who are passionate about causes that help others. Allow a group of students to put together a service opportunity that their peers can get involved in.

Ask students to evaluate events. After an event, gather a handful of students and ask them what they thought of the event. You can take it one step further and ask them to evaluate how well the event carried out its intended purpose.

Let students shoot a video. Ask a group of students who love video to film an announcement video or a funny illustration to tie into your next message. You might be surprised at the results.

Have students lead a small group discussion. Whether you have a small group ministry or simply break into discussion groups from time to time, ask students to lead occasionally.  

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Benjer McVeigh is a Small Groups pastor at The Heights Community, a multi-site church in northern Utah. He loves helping pastors be better leaders so they can lead better churches, and he blogs at www.BenjerMcVeigh.com.