7 Traits of the BEST Student Pastors

7 Traits of the BEST Student Pastors

I think about the next generation these days. I think about my own kids who are in their 20s. I think about the students who will graduate from high school soon, and the children who are not far behind.

What’s in store?

What will their future be like?

I’m hopeful, and the person we choose to lead the way for their spiritual lives is so important. That’s why I’ve always been passionate about and grateful for the leaders in student ministry.

Who you choose and place into leadership is incredibly important.

Your student pastor has tremendous influence over the next generation. They have an extraordinary opportunity to represent the moral compass that points the way to Jesus.

The best student pastors teach and encourage teens to live a life based on Christian values in a culture that no longer puts God first.

How do you know you’ve made the right choice in a student pastor or volunteer leader?

A few key indicators are:

1. Teens are giving their lives to Jesus and getting baptized.

2. Teens are maturing in their faith and inviting friends to church.

3. Teens are serving and a few are called to full-time ministry.

4. Teens are living out stories of personal life transformation.

5. Teens are living out healthy relationships with family and friends.

So, what is the best type of leader to help lead the way to these results?

After consulting several student ministry experts and student pastors, the following is a list of seven traits that comprise the very best of student pastors.

7 Traits of the BEST Student Pastors

1) Emotional Maturity

We all love student pastors who are fun, but we respect student pastors who are mature. These two traits are not mutually exclusive, but not always found well-balanced together. The ability to relate to teens and speak truth is vital.

A sense of security rather than people pleasing, not prone to anger and possessing self-control are essential facets of emotional maturity.

2) Personal Drive

The best student pastors do not depend on the senior leadership to fuel their spiritual intensity, stoke their energy, or give them pep talks to reach more students. Leadership drive for progress is something born internally and can’t be borrowed from someone else.

Encouragement, coaching, direction and support are always needed, but the best student leaders possess their own inner drive to reach more students for Jesus.

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Dan Reiland
Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.

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