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The best outcome of student leadership is not just that they begin to study Scripture and pray daily, but put their faith into action. We need to know the potential goal outcomes for these students and be prepared to provide opportunities for them both within the church (youth ministry and big church) as well as in the community. To that point, we also have to recognize that they will be heading off on their own in a few years and need to make sure that their faith not only focuses inward, but outward too.
Your church should be the greatest place for students to own their faith. There are so many different possibilities to set them up to succeed, depending on their gifts and talents. For the verbal student, try and let the senior pastor let them do the sermon one week. If not, let them lead the discussion at youth group. For the artistic person, see if the worship pastor will let them lead or do several solos. Maybe the congregation would be willing to come to a play or appreciate a short skit that they wrote themselves. The possibilities are endless, so the problem comes in that we are wasting that potential. If you have student leadership, provide opportunities within the church for them to succeed.
While the possibilities may be endless within the church, we need to be going out into the community to be able to share this faith and hope to the world. Teenagers today long to do social justice and in this recession and season of hopelessness, the time is ripe to be able to serve the community. Go around and mow lawns for free, skip youth group for a week and feed the homeless, team up with Habitat for Humanity in your local area. Whatever it is, create an environment for student leaders to create their own service projects and participate.
Most likely, several of your student leaders are a junior or senior in high school and they are looking at the ideas of what will happen next, be it college or a career after high school. They will be graduating and heading off to start a career, college, or something beyond school. Focus on the Family has a great video series that is still being added to called TrueU that is a sound investment. It asks the tough questions for those thinking about their future and how their faith will be challenged. Begin the discussion with the teens and let them know that even in this new season, we as youth workers are only a text message away.
How does your student leadership group impact your ministry and community? What was the impact of it?