7 Strategies to Develop Student Leaders

By Doug Franklin April 20, 2021

The church is one generation away from being out of leaders. Developing students as leaders has become important for our youth ministries but also for our churches.

Students want more say in what happens in youth group. Students also want to serve others and care for their world. These two facts need to create our new student leadership strategy.

Having a team of 12 responsible students who do some of the work we don’t want to do doesn’t cut it anymore. We need creative solutions to get students involved in making decisions in the youth ministries now. The key to this is to give them a voice in the creation of programming and help them find ways to serve their community.


To train them to be leaders, LeaderTreks has identified seven key components of a comprehensive student leadership development program. These components constitute what students need to know and be able to do to become effective Christian leaders.

7 Strategies to Develop Student Leaders

  1. Students must have a definition of leadership and must understand the basic premise that leadership can be learned.
  2. Students must understand that leadership is a set of principles that can be applied to any situation.
  3. Students must understand who leaders are, what leaders need, and what leaders do.
  4. Students must understand there are two sides to leadership: doing and being. Doing and being must be in balance for leadership to be effective.
  5. Students must understand “self leadership.” They must have a clear understanding of their gifts, talents, and unique abilities.
  6. Students must understand “team leadership.” They must have a clear understanding of how to lead followers.
  7. Students must understand that leadership can change everything. They must have a clear understanding of the power of leadership.

By studying and learning these components, students will have the tools to lead now. These seven strategies for developing student leaders will give them a strong foundation of knowledge and practice of leadership.

With this foundation they will be ready to help create programming in the youth ministry and to design service opportunities in their community. With these two pieces of ownership, you will create a new 21st-century student leadership development program in your youth ministry that will catapult students into long-term leadership in the church.

reimagine student leadership ebook for youth ministry

Download a Free Ebook Reimagine Student Leadership. This resource will give you tools, the creative license, and the practical steps to map out a student leadership plan that will work in the new reality of student ministry – yes, even with busy students, and limited adult volunteers.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More