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student leadership, student ministry, youth ministry, commitment

Limited Commitment Student Leader


By Doug Franklin March 13, 2014

Does your church have a student leadership team? If so, you probably ask students to make a one-year commitment if they want to join. Youth workers love to make this a requirement for being on the team. After all, first-rate leaders keep their commitments. Unfortunately, students who make the leadership team are often those who are already over-committed. Academics, drama, band, sports—good chunks of their lives are already spoken for. And when students get too busy, the youth leadership team is typically the first thing parents cut. To the frustration of youth workers everywhere, “leadership team member” is the title everyone wants but no one has time for.

What if we developed short-term student leadership teams that served for a few months instead of a year? Students would commit for a season, just like they already do in a sport. It would be their priority and their focus for that period of time. Teams could be smaller, giving youth workers more time to mentor individual students. Parents wouldn’t be forced to prioritize school over church. And more teams each year means more students serving in leadership.

I say death to the one-year student leadership team! But where should you start? Here are few ideas to get the ball rolling:

1. Fall or Winter Retreat Team—Meets for a few months before the retreat and one week after to debrief.

2. Mission Trip Team—Meets during the second semester of school to organize the summer mission trip.

3. Outreach Event Team—Meets for two months prior to an all-day Saturday outreach event.

4. Summer Worship Band Team—Meets in May to practice leading worship throughout the summer.

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