I have been involved in student ministry since the summer of 2004. I was an intern during college, and then, after college went directly into full time student ministry work. I love working with students! I am confident in this calling on my life. Well, I have made many mistakes, probably much more than you! I have learned one thing though, and that is the importance of developing student leaders. This is something it took time for me to grasp, but I believe I finally have learned the value in it. I wanted to share a few thoughts about developing student leaders in your student ministry:
1. Keep your students accountable. If you are breathing, you need accountability in your life. I do not care if you are 80, 20, a pastor, or whatever, you need accountability. We all do. We need to keep our students accountable the same way we keep our adult leaders accountable.
2. Give them Responsibility. In my earlier days in student ministry, I created student leaders with no responsibility. Now, that does not make any sense to me now. We must learn to trust our student leaders with things. Recently, I allowed my student leaders to completely direct an entire service. I allowed them to plan and perform the music, the drama, the message, the set up, the power point, etc. They did it all, and I just showed up. Now, I was nervous, but they came through. It was their own. Learn to go ahead and give them responsibility.
3. Meet with your student leaders regularly. You need to meet with them at least monthly to discuss the health of the ministry.
4. Get your student leaders input on activities and lessons. Who better to know what students are struggling with than….students? Ask them what they are struggling with and ask God to give you lessons to meet their spiritual needs. Also, if I plan activities that I like, the students will not always enjoy them, but if I choose activities that students enjoy, students will love them. Get your students involved in the planning of the student ministry.
5. Pray with them. This will deepen our relationship with our leaders. It will also give them a chance to be reminded what really matters. It is a good example for them to follow.