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Give Every Teen a Voice

I have mixed feelings when it comes to student leadership groups within your student ministry. While it’s important to create leaders, to group them risks creating a click within the ministry. No matter what your feelings are on student leadership groups, it’s important to nurture teens to be leaders. One of the best ways to do this by giving them a voice.

It’s with a voice teens feel empowered, encouraged and valued. It’s with a voice that you are mobilizing the next generation. To give teens that voice you need to:

Encourage Them to Serve: Actions speak louder than words. Not only does service speak loud but it teaches humility and love. Allow teenagers to serve alongside of adults in ministry and mission. They’ll become visible to the rest of the congregation and community, and that’s huge. If they lead with their actions, you give their actions a physical voice that’s hard to ignore.

Seek Their Feedback: If you speak to teens you need to get their thoughts and input. To be proactive give them rough drafts of your message, ask them to comment of possible statements you might make. I do this by going on Facebook and messaging a few teens I know. Give them permission to share with you what they really think and they’ll support you in your leadership.

Brag About Them to Leadership: If there are teens in your ministry you want to spot light let the rest of your staff (Especially your pastor) know about their hard work. This will encourage coworkers to recognize the student leaders in your church and they’ll feel like they’ve been noticed. This will help them feel value beyond youth ministry.

Give Them A Platform: If teens are given the opportunity to share their faith publicly you prepare them for leadership roles in the future.

  • Playing in a worship band.
  • Giving a testimony.
  • Small group leading their younger peers.

Are all ways of how teens can lead as adults in the future. Not only are you giving them a platform; but, the opportunity to lead in the same way adults can lead. This will show them how they can lead in the future.

When teens feel like they have a voice they’ll embrace your ministry more. They’ll be taking on responsibility to grow the church and have it function at a high level. When they feel empowered they feel motivated. When teens have a voice you’ve done your job of mobilizing the next generation.

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jgriffin@churchleaders.com'
Josh Griffin is high school pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He’s the co-counder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com and host of the Youth Ministry Garage Podcast. He's authored more than 20 youth ministry resources and is the author of "99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders" with Doug Fields. Josh is a father of 4 who speaks a little, podcasts a little, Twitters a bit, and blogs a lot. You can find him at DownloadYouthMinistry.com!