youth worker, youth ministry, leadership needs more

Leadership Requires More

By Doug Franklin June 28, 2012

Students who are eager to sign-up to be on a leadership team may not be the leaders you want. Leadership is more than just being on another team at church. Leadership requires confrontation, problem solving, and making unpopular decisions. Too often students think the leadership team gets to hang with the youth pastor and decide what cool things the group will do. They seldom count the cost of leadership and can’t be found when tough decisions need to be made.

I am continuing my series on developing a leadership team. Last month we talked about the importance of a leadership team and how it was the key to turning students into owners of the church and thus long-term members of the family of God. This month I want to focus on how to select team members for the leadership team.

The Problem
Leadership teams in youth groups are a great idea. This leads some youth workers to think that if it’s a great idea why not get everyone on the team? This is the problem; we want to select the team members before we have decided what the focus of the leadership team will be. If the leadership team is just about helping the youth pastor with logistic stuff he or she doesn’t want to do, then put anyone on the team. If the team is about creating a strategic plan, casting a vision for the plan and seeing the plan executed, then we are going to want to select team members based on maturity, past performance, character and spiritual development.

The Solution
Action step 1: Determine the focus and purpose of the leadership team. Meet with your adult team and lead a white board session on the purpose of a student leadership team. Start with the results: what do you want to see happen and how will your youth group look if you had an effective student leadership team? Then work backwards to make these results happen. What leadership training will we need to focus on and what kind of projects can we turn over to students?

Action step 2: Calculate what kind of students would be right for the leadership team you have created. Warning: do not just go have “good students.” Look outside the box and see if a real leadership experience might be right for a student who is disconnected in some way. Develop a good application that will help you and your staff understand the qualifications of the students who are applying.

Action step 3: Cast the vision with your whole youth group and let everyone know what the focus of the leadership team will be and what the standards of qualification are.

Action step 4: Navigate the obstacles with students and parents. Understand that students and parents will want to know more about the qualifications and how who is on the team will be determined. Be up front and share with everyone the process you and your team have gone through and the results that you are seeking. Be open yet firm; the long-term success of this team will be determined in how focused the start is.

Action step 5: Evaluate the progress. Once the applications start coming in check to see that the applicants understand your focus and purpose. Interview students if need be. Keep meeting with your adult team and ask, “What can we do better?”

When we are starting a leadership team our first thought is always going to be who should be on the team but before we ask that we must determine what the focus of the leadership team will be.

If you have a question or need additional resources please let me know, I would love to help.

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