Developing Leaders Within

Recently I have been thinking about leadership and studying different models of leadership within local churches. Now, I know you are thinking “oh no! Another Leadership blog and article.” I can promise that this blog aims to look at developing a culture of leadership within your ministry among your student population.

I have heard from different churches that the Student Leadership teams are becoming a thing of the past. I hope not, but from my research, I realize that they are not fading away from doing Student Leadership. The crisis or issue they are facing in different churches is how to produce and run a Student Leadership team efficiently. I want to show five ways to develop leaders within your ministry that will help students buy into your ministry for the long haul.


I know that none of us as Youth Workers are naive, but one of the most significant ways to use the students in our ministries exists through technology. I have found over the last few years that when I put a student in charge of technology, they take ownership within our ministry quicker. Why? Because students in our ministries are part of Generation Z and they understand technology from a different perspective than us. Trust me, I am a huge technological nerd, but students understand technology and have creative ways for the ministry to use it for spiritual growth.


I am about to propose something that may make some Youth Workers cringe a little bit, but please stay with me. Develop leaders within your ministry by having them teach classes and small groups. I have found it to be something that challenges our students to get outside of their comfort zones, but students listen to what their peers have to say in a Student Ministry setting. What ways can you right now release your students to teach? Remember the goal is to develop leaders. The teaching opportunity can be used as a coaching moment.


Who knows your audience and brand better than your students? Nobody!  Have your students take ownership and help share your brand with other students. I have seen leaders grow and even be developed because they wanted to help share our ministry with others. Here is a question I ask our student leaders, “What makes our ministry different than any other ministry down the road from us?” What I am asking our student leaders is what makes us unique and a ministry that people want to be a part of weekly.


I labeled this one coaching, but realistically I am referencing discipleship. Meeting students at local eateries or coffee shops to dive deeper into God’s Word is essential for ministries to develop leaders. There is something special about discipleship groups meeting and helping teenagers own and live out their faith. The groundwork for spiritual and leadership development happens outside of the local church buildings. We must go out and meet with students in their environment.


Lastly, the students within our student ministries across America are teenagers who have a hunger and desire to serve. The struggle they face is they will not ask you to help, and they will join whatever need that attracts them, which leads to them taking ownership of different causes. One of the most significant places for teenagers to serve is within the local church. There is no job to small or big for students to help. But you must invite them into the opportunity to serve.

Just letting you know that I am aware that not all five ways will fit your ministry setting, but please use and adapt everything to suit your ministry.

Scott Talley