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obstacles to student leadership, student leader, youth ministry, student ministry

The Greatest Obstacle to Developing Student Leaders

By Doug Franklin August 28, 2013

A few years ago I was making a presentation on developing student leaders in youth ministry. A participating youth worker told me that leadership development didn’t need to be part of youth ministry. So I drilled down and talked about how students were not be able to impact and influence their peers without having a leadership mindset. The youth worker became uncomfortable and began listing all the mistakes leaders had made and how students are turned off by bad leadership. I agreed with him that leaders had made bad decisions but then I asked him this questions: “how do you feel about leadership? Do you have the confidence to teach a student about healthy leadership?” The answer was no.

We don’t teach what we don’t know. Adults who don’t understand leadership will understandably not want to teach it or help a student develop their leadership. This should not be an excuse to leave leadership development out of youth ministry.

After all what is the goal of youth ministry? I believe it is to reproduce disciples who will own the mission God has for them.  This means leadership development will benefit everyone who is in a church youth group.

Leadership confidence comes from understanding how leadership works. The most important part of developing as a leaders is to have a place where you get to practice leadership. Youth workers have that built into their job descriptions. Add some leadership principles by reading some books on leadership and you will be on your way to growing in leadership confidence. I recommend the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. You may want to add a leadership mentor into the mix to speed your development.

I challenge you to ask yourself, “do I stay away from leadership development for my students because I’m not confident in my own leadership?” If this is the case LeaderTreks wants to help you. Check out our Refuel Retreats, they are a great way to learn leadership in a fun and collaborative environment. Also call us, we are willing to spend time helping you figure out a way to get you and your students started in leadership develop.

What is keeping you from growing as a leader?

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