Three Insights to Building a Student Leadership Team

Student leadership teams are a fundamental part of any youth ministry and the desire of every youth pastor. Building a productive and strong leadership team can be the catalyst to seeing your youth ministry begin to grow and thrive. This blog is meant to share some insights gained through both positive and negative attempts at building a quality student-leadership team in three simple steps.

1. Don’t rush the process.

The saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” also rings true for building a quality student-leadership team. It might seem easy to pick a few students and put a team together in hopes of having that group begin to take on a leadership role in the youth group, but rushing the process or putting the wrong group of students in leadership roles can be more harmful than helpful. Sometimes it is better to not have a leadership team of students than to have the wrong team. Building a student-leadership team requires trust in God’s timing so that it will not just exist but be effective.

2. Allow God to raise up and reveal leaders.

Maybe you have made the same mistake I have made in the past of selecting the most “prominent students” in the youth group for a leadership team. It is easy to pick the kids we think will have influence and are popular, or the ones who have been in the church all their life believing that they will be leaders someday. However, allowing God to reveal and raise up student leaders is always much more effective. Consider David’s call in 1 Samuel 16. Samuel saw the outward characteristics of Jesse’s sons who were at home when Samuel arrived and wondered if God was anointing one of them while David was still in the field. Pray for God’s discernment about your student-leadership team, and seek His heart for who He would place in the role of leadership; it might just be students you least expect. Trust God to reveal the right students to lead your youth group where He wants to see it go.

3. Release your student leadership team to serve.

Allowing students to take on leadership roles can sometimes be a difficult decision in youth ministry, especially if we think we can do it better. This lack of trust can lead to our student-leadership teams only helping plan events, leaving the adults to execute the plan. An important aspect of youth ministry is to release students to live into their gifting and roles, even if it means they fail sometimes or the events don’t go quite according to plan. Our job as youth leaders is to help encourage our student leaders, guide them, and continue to give them opportunities to be used by God to do His work. A “semi-successful” event in our eyes that is led completely by our student leaders can be more effective for our students and for the Kingdom than a “very successful” event that is solely planned and put on by our adults. Releasing ownership of your youth group and youth events to your student leaders may be scary, but God is in control anyway, right? It may open the door for incredible growth that you never would have imagined both in the youth group and in your leadership as a youth pastor.

Building a student-leadership team is an important part of any youth ministry, but making sure to do it well and with God’s wisdom is the key to unlocking what God has in store for your youth group. Prayerfully seek God’s wisdom, don’t rush the process, allow Him to show you, and then release student leaders into His hands. We are praying for you and your students!

David Hater
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