Your Church Needs Student Leadership

I spent an hour on the phone yesterday with a great friend of mine from high school, Ben Phillips. He is one one of those guys I can pick up right where we left off.... in this case it has been around 5 years or so... but Ben, who is 32 now, was a student leader.

Our church youth group ran around 10 people on average, and most of that number of 10 was comprised of 2-3 families. We had some good things happening at times, but no one new ever seemed to come to youth group. When Ben became a high school upperclassman, he took it upon himself to change the dynamics of our group. He started picking a few of us up 2 hours before our meeting, so we could sit in the church office, flip through the phone book and invite every single friend we could think of to come to youth group that night.

When Ben got his drivers licence, he started driving us to youth conferences when our youth pastor was unable to take us. He would sign us in, and get everyone to their appropriate seats, or break-out sessions. He started to play to play guitar, but couldn't play very well, so he put together a youth choir that could sing accapella together. He contacted local churches, and got their permission to perform music and drama for Sunday evenings, Wednesday night, and special events.

Guess what. The youth group grew! Over the matter of a year or so, our group of 10 became a core group of 25, and attendance of 35 or more. In a small country church surrounded by farmland! In a county with more cows that people! The church grew. People were excited about the new young faces in the crowd. For some reason, the kids from the middle school and high school wanted to be at this church. And you know what? Our church services weren't cool, or hip, or fresh. There were no drums, guitars, or lights. Our old people turned some kids away because they didn't dress "appropriately." Some of our friends broke stuff at the church. Some of them had bad language. But they came. And God started impacting lives...

Then Ben graduated.

What would we do now? Suddenly, I realized that no matter how intimidating it would be, that I had to fill his shoes. I began picking up younger kids before youth group, I began driving to the youth conference, and I began leading the student music/drama team. Why? Because it had been modeled for me. Not by my youth pastor, my Christian school teachers, or my parents. But by one of me peers. A student leader. My wife became a Christian during this time in our youth group. I had the God-given opportunity to share my faith boldly with her at age 15. I had become a student leader.

10-15 years later, Ben and I are both in the ministry, both filling the roles as Worship and Student Pastors. We are both looking for a student leader. Some student who will rise up and say...."Enough." "I am not content with the way things are. I want to see Christ do MORE through my church, MORE through my student ministry... let me try something different."

When that happens.... look out! God will honor it!

Student Pastor/Leader. Will your church be willing to allow students to lead? Will you allow them to call some of their own shots... even if they screw some things up?....

Jer 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ...

Student leadership is the only future your church has.

1 comment:

  1. David Pearson3:16 PM

    Great post Milo! One student who is fully in love with Jesus and acts on that love can impact an entire community! I'm praying that God is preparing a student at Ridgeview to be that leader and I will anxiously await the day when, because of that student, the church, community, and lives are impacted in a greater way than you ever imagined!