I recently had the privilege of speaking at the Seattle Student Leadership Summit. It was an incredible opportunity and one of those moments as youth pastor that just makes me smile. Over, and over I saw the “lightbulb” come on for young leaders as they began to see how they fit into God’s plan. It was amazing! Our students have the potential to do great things and seeing student leaders in action is absolutely incredible.
But then I started thinking about the youth programs around the country that may not have leadership opportunities for their students: programs that have yet to start a student leadership team in their ministry, don’t know how to start one, or don’t know that they need to start one. The thought saddens me because for us as youth workers we NEED to be developing these teams within our ministries! Here is why…
To Empower Students
There is no age limit on being a leader. Of course, we know that, that is why we are in youth ministry. Our students do NOT need to wait until they graduate, have a job, turn 18, get married, or anything else before they can be a leader. They can be leaders NOW and they need to be empowered to DO ministry. Too often we simply talk about ministry, or spend time making them the recipient of ministry instead of empowering them to do ministry.
We need to form student leadership teams so that we can empower students to lead, and not just tell them that they can do it but rather give them opportunities to do it.
To Equip Students
Again, too often we tell students about leading instead of teaching them how to lead. How will our students learn to be leaders if no one teaches them? Sure, there are some students who are more natural leaders than others, but just as Vince Lombardi said, “leaders are made, they are not born,” and we need to be making leaders.
We need to give the students the tools, training, and teaching that they need to become the leaders God wants them to be. If you have been in church for a while you may have heard the murmurs from the older generations about the lack of young leaders, first I disagree, but second if this is true how come no one is equipping and teaching them to be leaders?
We need to form student leadership teams so we can equip students to lead, and not just expect them to know how and what to do.
I believe that when we create and develop leaders we are being obedient to Christ. Developing leaders is at it’s core making disciples, but even further than that it is making disciple makers. God has entrusted us with the greatest mission of all time, to tell others about Him and guide them into a saving relationship with Christ. To be honest that mission is awesome, exciting and scary all at the same time. But that is why we need to be empowering, equipping, training, and teaching young leaders so they can do amazing things for Christ!
We need to form student leadership teams because that is what obedience to Christ looks like as we create young disciple makers.
Student leadership teams are awesome and you definitely SHOULD have one! Now, I understand that starting one may be confusing, it may be difficult, but it is worth taking the time to figure out and get rolling! If you would like to talk to someone about how to get one started in your ministry email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to help you get that going.