Buh-Bye Student Leadership
Student leadership is done in our ministry as we know it.
Well, kind of.
Do I still have a team of students whom I meet with regularly and we talk about leadership and servanthood? Yes. But it’s not student leadership any more. I am all about pouring into a group of students and letting them take roles beyond just attending group.
When I took over student leadership last year I didn’t change much. It was a select group that met every other week and over time I watched it become something everyone who wants to do a student leadership team dreads… a click. Students thought of themselves as better, they took pride in the name tags they were given and they did not do much to actually serve their peers.
Well that changed this year.
We switched up a few things to make this group of students really feel and see the impact they could have on their peers. This was not an elite group of students, the insiders, it is a group of students who are willing to give up a little part of their youth group experience in order to serve their peers.
We meet on the 1st & 3rd Monday of every month and we go will be going through a variety of lessons, team building, devos, challenges and of course end the year with a YOU OWN THE NIGHT series where these students will take lead, but I think their can be some healthier ways to go about it this year.
Here are some things we did to do this:
Changed the name
- It’s now Student Impact. Why? I want them to impact their peers by serving them during the service. The name assumes leadership. Jesus led by serving his disciples and students will lead the same.
Got rid of name tags
- In the past, student leaders wore badges that said “Student Leader”. What I do know is this badge was something they coveted and showed off. Very non-servant like. Gone.
Opened up the group to all high schoolers
- Student Impact are the core kids. The ones who love this ministry and want to make it better. In the past it was kept to 15. This year, I wanted to open it up to any student who wanted to make a difference on Wednesday nights. Why wouldn’t I want to pour into students who were all in with our ministry for two days a month for a few hours? This also takes away the exclusivity and “elite-ness” from it. They do still need to fill out an application and there is still an attendance tracker clause.
Set designated teams and jobs
- I split the group into 3 random teams. All teams were made to have them be with people they do not know. On Wednesday nights there are 3 main on-going jobs for them to serve.
- Welcome Team & Stairs – This team will be responsible to make sure every student who walks up those stairs is greeted. We want this to be a welcoming place and it begins with students welcoming students. We want high fives, get to know names, ask them if they know where they are doing. If you don’t recognize them, are they new? Show them around.
- Trash and Pen Duty – This team will wait until 9pm every Wednesday to clean up. This gives them some time to still hang out with friends before diving into serving. This team is responsible for picking up the trash in the worship center and also collecting every non-CCV pen and putting it in the pen bin. This team will also do a trash sweep outside on the patio and make sure it looks good.
- Bulletins – This team will be responsible for passing out the pens and bulletins during the high school message time. As soon as the worship leader dismisses into the rooms, this team will meet in the back corner of the room, grab pens and bulletins and pass them out as soon as a majority of the room is sat.
Know Your Row
- Students have come up to me and ask me how not to be a click. After many attempts they could not figure it out, this will help them. Impact team will not be sitting together during the services but they can partner up with someone on their team. We have 3 sections of seating on Wednesday nights so each team will take a section, each pair will take a different row and the challenge is to know everyone in your row. Either during service, worship, after service, introduce yourself to the people in your row and get to know some stories of their peers. It has been a great way for students to step out of their comfort zones and be welcoming to everyone they come in contact with.
Like I said, how can you not want to pour into students who love your ministry and want to make a difference. I tell them all of time, “You are never more like Jesus than when you serve.” I think this will help point them in that direction. God can do incredible things when we step out-of-the-way of ourselves and serve others and I know God will do this that through these students on this team.
**This post was originally on the Download Youth Ministry blog.
Justin Knowles has been a pastor for the last 10 years and is the Lead Student Ministries Pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, CA. He oversees 7th-12th grade and has an amazing team he does it all with. He hosts The Other Student Ministry Podcast, loves to write about his ministry journey and teach at all kinds of camps. Him and his wife Kristin has a baby boy named Graham and a cat named CATalie Portman. @justinknowles3
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.