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youth ministry, youth worker, student ministry

Students as Owners

By Doug Franklin June 16, 2009

I have spent the last week in Pawleys Island, SC with a group of students on a summer mission trip that is focused on leadership development. They are leading all aspects of the trip. They make the menu and shop for the food; they prepare the food and make sure everyone is on time for meals. They are leading a Vacation Bible School daily. On the work site, the students aren’t just working, but they are purchasing the tools and materials needed based on their own decisions. There is even a group of students who are leading the team through cleaning, and making sure everything is in its proper place. At night, the students lead the worship time and have ownership for the spiritual development of one another. The whole idea is to use a program that they love (the mission trip) to teach them leadership.

Its amazing watching what happens when students are the owners of a trip like this. The food is not great, we make a lot of mistakes on the worksite, and VBS does not flow as easily…but teachable moments happen almost every minute! Its messy when we let students lead, but there is oh so much more impact.

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