youth ministry, youth worker, student ministry

The Unexpected Benefits of a Student Leadership Team

By Doug Franklin June 5, 2009

Starting a student leadership team is hard work. It takes time to select the right students and challenge them to step out of their comfort zone. It’s a sacrifice to give away ownership and find the time to train student leaders. But before you decide you don’t have the time or the desire to make the sacrifices, let me share some benefits that come along with developing student leaders.

These unexpected benefits are things you may not have considered.

1.    Parents.
Parents want their students to be leaders. Parents want more for their students; they expect that youth group is going to do more than just give their students something to do or keep them out of trouble. They want growth for their students and leadership development is on the top of their list. Have you ever met an involved parent who doesn’t want their student to be a leader? Who doesn’t want their student to develop strong life skills? That’s what a student leadership team does, and parents will view that you are helping them prepare students for the future. Parents know that soon they will send out their students into the world, and they will be encouraged when they see that you are helping to grow students.

2.    Measurable Effect.
Often in youth ministry we struggle to determine if we are making any difference in the lives of students. After all it’s hard to measure the growth of a student’s heart. We struggle to find the right events that will give us the effect on students that we desire. Our experience is that a student leadership team has a great impact, and that impact is measurable. When students are in charge, their development will surpass the program. Students grow in ownership, engagement, creativity, life skills, and are willing to invite friends. These are all measurable components.

3.    Impact on the World.
When your students see their potential as leaders, their minds will open to greater possibilities in changing the world for Jesus Christ. The biggest problem I see with this generation of students is they dream too small and quit too fast. Leadership broadens their perspective on their youth group, their church, their community, and the world. Leadership teaches them that change does not come easy but when they put their whole trust in Christ and give a full effort, change can happen. They begin to experience the excitement of serving Christ as leaders.

4.    Your personal leadership growth.
Excellence begets excellence. When you teach your students to be leaders, you will have to live out those leadership principles in your own life. This will be a challenge to you that is personal and at heart level. We all need something to push us to be our best. I know from the surveys we do with youth pastors that many of us don’t have leadership teams because we don’t think we understand leadership. Don’t let this stop you – see it as a great opportunity to go on a learning adventure with your students.

At LeaderTreks we try and make this easy for you with great tools like Leadership Journey, and our youth pastor resource team is ready to talk you through any questions. Let us know how we can help in this great adventure of developing students into leaders.

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