Student Leadership: More Than a Monthly Meeting
Meeting with our student leaders is fun and sometimes the best part of our ministry week. They get us and we get them. They love our jokes and they want to grow; we could hangout with them forever. The problem is sometimes we do. Sometimes we just hangout with them and our student leadership meeting is more about time with the “good kids” then about learning new leadership principles and skills. The content of our student leadership meetings matters.
I am continuing my series on developing a leadership team. Two months ago 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. Last month we talked about how to select team members for the leadership squad. This month I want to focus on content for the leadership team meeting.
My suggestion is student leadership meeting be broken into two parts. Part one; Leadership Principles, part two; Leadership Experience. For this leadership development philosophy to work students must be given real leadership roles where they are allow to make the decision that lead to success or failure. If the adult leaders are going to give information or change decision before the consequences are felt students will never learn.
Part one of the student leader meeting is lead by the youth leader with the goal of teaching leaderships principle. Principles like know thy self, strategic planning, risk taking or intentional communication are often misunderstood by students but can be easily learned through reading leadership books, studying Biblical characters or watching leadership training videos. This time is very important; the training needs to be well prepared focused and backed with great illustrations. The leader needs to bring these leadership principles to life; students need to see how the leadership principle intersects with their leadership role.
Part two of the student leader meeting needs to be lead by students and focused on a leadership experience. Examples of leadership experiences include leadership for mission trips, youth ministry events, small groups, and outreach events. When students have real decision making power in these events they will be able to put the leadership principles they have learned into practice. Without the opportunity to make decisions that lead to success or failure students will have no reason to apply the leadership principles they have been taught. If adults rescue students from poor decision then all that they will learn is that adults solve all your problems. Let students face the consequences of their decision. Sometimes consequences can be the greatest teacher.
About the Author
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