One of my friends/admins from the Endeavor Facebook page recently wrote:
Plugging youth into jobs in your youth program is not student-led ministry. Far from it. We’re hearing from God but falling short of understanding. Time to equip youth to lead ministries of their own, not ours.
Let me first say that I think the quote is true. Plugging kids into our youth program is not student-led ministry; but I think plugging in kids, to begin with, is an essential part of any ministry that wants to get to student-led ministry. We all can’t just release kids to go crazy with their ideas, especially kids who may not know Christ and/or kids with no experience with leadership. We must allow kids a slide show of leadership and allow them to jump in where God has gifted them and where God has led them in prayer.
I learned a simple phrase a while back about how to get people involved in ministry
I do it you watch
I do it you help
You do it I watch
You do it I go do something else.
It’s worked for me for a lot of years. It’s easy to read a statement like the one that was posted and suddenly that overwhelmed feeling sets in and we ask, “But how do I get there?”
Let me offer 5 Levels of Entry To Leadership we can use until a kid can walk on their own
1. Constantly introduce the idea that teenagers can lead.
I talk about it, post articles on my Facebook page, etc. I try to make it who I am, instead of just something I do.
2. Give opportunities in the ministry you already have.
This is part of testing kids ability to serve, their ability to be committed (with conviction), and their ability to finish a task. Don’t step over this principle if you have a group of kids that are new to the idea of student leadership.
3. Introduce Wild Cards
A wild card is scenario where unless a kids steps up something will not get done. I call it a creative crises. Other leaders, your pastor, and your parents have to be involved in this process. This may mean you training to do things in your absence and then being absent or it may mean not having the message that night to see who has been praying and steps up to share.
4. Offer In House Projects
Another step you can take is by offering projects. Instead of having a full blown meeting, we take some Wednesdays and use half the meeting as project nights. I give the students parameters and let them work on the outreach, youth service, service project, etc. along with an adult facilitator.
5. Mentoring towards the end goal.
My goal in this process is getting kids to pray and seek the Lord for themselves rather than follow my designed path. I am working with several students to see them step up even more. I do my best to speak into their lives
If you are looking for a starting point, check out Pray 21 to get your kids thinking in the right direction.
Where are you starting out in your student leadership journey? Have some thoughts on the subject? Leave them below.