Youth members learn best by leading, so let them

Rend Collective gives a concert during SPEAK 2018. The annual youth conference will be held July 16–17 at NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville, and will feature speakers, plus music by Crowder and Iron City Worship.
Photo by Andrew Lucas

Youth members learn best by leading, so let them

By Patrick Franklin
Minister of students, Coosada Baptist Church

Students long to have meaningful, serious and critical leadership roles in our ministries. But how willing are we to allow crucial tasks to be offered to someone else? Is the risk worth the reward? I say, “Yes!”

Over the past year, our student ministry has grown by 20%, and I believe this growth is directly attributable to students owning their ministry.

The important shift in mindset is for students to discover there’s more to church than consumption.

As a part of the Body of Christ, we’re called to contribute. Here are some tips for empowering student leaders.

  1. Identify the leaders in your group.

Don’t just focus on the popular students. There is a vast distinction between mere popularity and leadership potential. Speak with these students one on one, and speak life into the God-given abilities you see in them. Cultivate the passion that’s hidden inside of them. Eventually you’ll recognize which students you can use to form a leadership team.

  1. Clearly define the roles for your leadership team.

Teams are intended to work to achieve a purpose. And everyone on a team needs a reason for involvement.

There will naturally be an allure to the team, and many students will ask to be involved. But don’t fill your team with purposeless positions. This is just a retread of doing nothing at all. Assign roles and set goals in order to motivate students to serve well.

  1. Let students own their roles.

Don’t condemn their method. Remember, we’re teaching them to replace us. There will be a day when these students are out of your direct influence.

Student ministry is a transitional ministry by nature. So let students actually lead.

They will often come up with ideas you would have never dreamed of, and you’ll be blown away by the results. There’s something incredibly powerful and attractive to other students when they see that they can actually be a part of something significant. They may never be one of your leaders, but just seeing their peers serve does plant the seed that they can serve too.

More ideas for student leadership are at (This article originally appeared at