I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m a Youth Pastor today solely because of my experience on a Student Leadership Team, but I also that experience shaped me and prepared me for the in’s and out’s of the day to day ministry better than almost all of my classes for Youth Ministry.
I was super fortunate to be part of a large Youth Ministry in California for my High School years where I got to lead worship and be on an incredible student leadership team, one that I’ve been trying to emulate for the last 10 years. I remember we had weekly meetings where our Youth Pastor would read us a 2 sentence quote from a Philip Yancey book, and we’d re-write it in our notebooks we kept in the Youth Building, and then he’d ask us a few questions about it. That little training isn’t what prepared me for ministry, or inspired me for what ministry could be.
So when I look at Student Leadership resources available today, they are often of little use to me. Don’t get me wrong, they are great content and well designed, but I feel like the purpose of student leadership for the ones producing this stuff is far different than the purpose I envision for the students in the ministry that God has entrusted me with.
That’s led to several great conversations I’ve had with students, leaders, and Youth Pastors over the last few weeks and months, on what is the Purpose of Student Leadership, what are it’s goals for students who serve on the team. Here are some of my favorite answers from those conversations:
- Student Leaders set the example for the rest of the group, raise the bar to meet
- A Student Leader is someone that all the students know they can go and talk to if they have questions about anything, or are looking to connect
- Student Leaders are reaching out to those in the crowd not as into it or connected
- Student Leadership is about learning ministry skills or roles of ministry
- Student Leaders are genuine with all the students they interact with
- Student Leaders are interested in everyone that comes to youth group and pursue them
- Student Leaders are clique-breakers
- Student Leaders get new people who come to be struck in awe with the wonder of God
- Student Leadership should be a greater benefit for students than for the Youth Pastor
- Student Leaders get stuff done
- Student leaders grow on their own
We’re in the process of refining our Student Leadership Team. We want all these things above to be true. We want students to go through the experience of Student Leadership Team and walk away with more than a completed task list that helped the Youth Pastor save time, but be inspired to connect with a church in college and beyond to use their ministry skills for the Kingdom of God.
When you think of goals for your Student Leaders, what comes to mind?