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10 Steps Toward Developing Student Leaders

What teenager is currently sitting in your ministry waiting for someone like you to believe in him/her?

Probably a lot more than you’d imagine! I was one of those guys (and it’s not because of the 70′s perm)!

Everyone wants to be invited somewhere? No one wants to be left alone?

Please know that I realize developing young leaders is not as simple or formulaic as I will lay out (below), but it’s exactly what my youth pastor did to me when I was in 9th grade, and it’s what I’ve tried to do with many others over the last 30 years.

These are some general actions:

1. Develop relationships. It all starts here.

2. Spend a little extra time with those who express interest/promise/potential.

3. Invite them into your world of ministry, and ask them to help/participate with something you’re doing. Could be an activity, a conference, a Bible study, a task, etc…

4. Assign a specific job for them to meet within your ministry (basically, invite them to ‘take on a responsibility’).

5. Debrief and evaluate their [job] performance as well as their feelings connected to the serving opportunity. Follow-up is essential.

6. Expose and connect them with other leaders (young and old).

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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