How to Choose Perfect Leaders for Your Student Ministry
Matt’s eyes were huge as he entered the conference. He had never seen so many youth leaders in one location in his entire life. He had one more burning question: “What are the qualities of the ‘Perfect Leader for Student Ministry?’”
He felt confident he could interview enough youth leaders over the next three days to build a profile on the “Perfect Leader.” His professor had given him the names of a few strategic people to seek out. Beyond those he was on his own. After talking to over 100 men and women, Matt began to write the following thoughts.
When building your leadership team, consider the following concepts:
- If you want to multiply your influence in students’ lives then focus on training the trainers.
- Have a discipleship plan for the leaders that serve with you. Everyone needs discipleship, not just students!
- Take the time to build an operating system that both empowers and develops your leadership team.
- Look for people who want to personally grow in their spiritual life.
- Recruit people who are willing to hold and be held accountable.
- Find people who have a burden for students. You can teach philosophy but you cannot teach burden.
- Go beyond your obvious comfort-zone choices.***
- Select intergenerational leaders, not just the twenty-something’s.
- Resource the pool of parents who would love to volunteer.
- Challenge the leaders to live a life ‘worthy of imitation.’
Matt asked one of the wise veteran leaders if he would look over his notes. As the leader reviewed what Matt had recorded and processed from all the interviews, he said he felt Matt had only missed one thing. Matt eagerly pulled out his pen and paper, ready to addend his previous notations but was quickly told to put both away and just listen.
Matt, here is what you are missing, there is no such thing as a ‘Perfect Leader,’ only imperfect people pointing students to a Perfect God. Yes, we need to recruit wisely, train effectively and minister efficiently but we are going to do so with flawed people and that includes us. What is exciting is that God chooses to use us. Go after the best people as leaders but always remember that God uses us in spite of our imperfections.
Matt turned in his paper and got an “A.” Matter of fact, he got the same for the class. Now it remains to be seen what he can do in real ministry.
[***Disclaimer: I am not dealing with legal matters here but suggest some degree of background check on every individual working with youth to any degree.]
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