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Helping Student Leaders Succeed

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Here's the first draft of an article I'm writing for next week's Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox. Enjoy!
One of the highlights from last summer was seeing students gather at Saddleback Church’s campus and learning about student leadership. As we prepare for this summer’s conference, I began to think about a few principles to help your students succeed in student leadership.

It all starts with discovering a student’s passion. You might use a S.H.A.P.E. test or something official, or maybe you just sit down over Starbucks and ask them questions so they can naturally discover how God has uniquely created them. Either way, fit is key.

Then make sure they have the margin to fulfill the commitment. Are you asking a student who is already overcommitted? Make sure you know how much they are already involved inside and outside the church ministry. Help them figure out what matters most in life, and learn to say no.

Be sure to assign adult leadership. This is an ideal concept – and I’m good friends with the real world. But we know that every student leader needs a mentor who perhaps even shares his or her passion for this ministry. In my mind, they need to be “hands off” as much as possible and “hands on” as much as needed. In an effort to help them strengthen their problem-solving and critical thinking skills, ask leaders to give direction but not be in control.

Then celebrate success as the student leader takes off. Recognize the initiative that a student has given, and show appropriate public praise. The temptation is to somehow misdirect praise to you, taking credit for what God has done through the students. Don’t fall for it; let them shine in the spotlight.

Lastly, make sure there’s ongoing evaluation. This is really the place to just ask questions and see what action might need to be taken. Is there someone else who should join this team? Is there a younger student that can be brought along in mentorship? Is there a better way to do this? Is there a new version, technology that makes this easier or obsolete? Do we need to take a break?

In the end, the key is to make sure that students are where they are passionate, have the margin to stick with it, and have someone to care for and encourage them. With a little celebration when things go good and some evaluation to make it better as you go, you’ll find student leaders that will succeed and become an integral part of your student ministry.

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:25 PM |

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At 4/26/2007, Blogger Kevin said...

Easy to read, to the point, practical. Good job!


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