Mentoring Student Ministry Leaders

Growing your impact on the lives of students requires building and mentoring a team. Even if you can grow a group on your own, there’s no way you can sustain it.

This means that you must mentor student ministry leaders.

Student ministry workers not only spend time working with teenagers but must also invest time connecting with and developing adults to use their gifts in ministry. Working through other adults to make student ministry happen increases the overall impact – in terms of time and attention. The Ministry Architects Association claims a full-time worker can relate/connect effectively with about 30 students. Even in a group size of 30, no one would recommend going it alone. But growing it further is nearly impossible without quality leaders. What if your 5-10 volunteers were able to personally connect to just three to six students on a regular basis? That could be as many as 60 students!

I once heard if a church wants to grow, they should act twice their size. One great way to do this is to mentor leaders.

When I say student ministry leaders, I mean adult volunteer who help serve the teenagers. I also believe in the importance of raising up students who have leadership abilities, but to narrow this post, it’s about the adult leaders.

How do we mentor?

Calendar It

Take a look at your calendar. Where can you open up space to start mentoring? What conference can you attend to learn more? What time frames can you open up (even if means minimizing another ministry you’re doing, at least for a while) to organize the best ways to include and mentor other leaders in your ministry?


Build an expectation of ongoing team development. Write out job descriptions. Notice gifts in people and invite them to use their gifts in the ministry. Always think in terms of “who can help accomplish this?” Invite people to pray, serve, give and to be present. Don’t apologize for being an inviter!


Set some expectations for your current leaders. This doesn’t have to be a decree or a huge announcement, although, writing out your expectations might be good for clarifying. And at times, it may be helpful to share it with the whole team so that you can see who rises to it!

Give Opportunities

Be generous in offering opportunities to lead. Advance planning helps make this happen with more regularity. Find projects, moments, and other times so people on your team can practice using their gifts. Another way this happens is when you are gone – plan ahead to allow ample time for people to prepare to lead during these times.


Micheal Hyatt wrote a great little piece a few years back about the five levels of delegation. If you want to grow your team, these are some good steps to take in offering each leader a chance to learn to do it well.

  • Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked you to do. Don’t deviate from my instructions. I have already researched the options and determined what I want you to do.
  • Level 2: Research the topic and report back. We will discuss it, and then I will make the decision and tell you what I want you to do.
  • Level 3: Research the topic, outline the options, and make a recommendation. Give me the pros and cons of each option, but tell me what you think we should do. If I agree with your decision, I will authorize you to move forward.
  • Level 4: Make a decision and then tell me what you did. I trust you to do the research, make the best decision you can, and then keep me in the loop. I don’t want to be surprised by someone else.
  • Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best. No need to report back. I trust you completely. I know you will follow through. You have my full support.


Build a systematic prayer schedule for your leaders. Some ideas may be to take each of your leaders and assign them a day of the week. Or add names to your calendar to pop up. There is more that happens through prayer than we can ever imagine. Pray for your people. We need God to build leaders among us.

Share Experiences

There are two sides to mentoring – the prepared and the unprepared. When you share experiences together, such as dinner in a home, a conference, camp or road trip, or some other “outside of church” relationship, you’re able to mentor in a unprepared way. This may be the most difficult of all. Your actions rub off on people – good and bad!  When you order at a restaurant with your team, you’re modeling Christian hospitality and behavior. When you are just visiting and talking during a weekend conference, your words and actions matter.

Build Community

Grow in community with your team. Many of the things mentioned above aid in this. But community is so important as a environment for building community!  Once this framework is established and nurtured, the the other parts become much more natural. God can do mighty work in a team of committed student ministry leaders!

I write with church leaders in mind and I would be honored to have you join me by subscribing to the blog. You can take a look at the top posts here. The posts are categorized: pastors, worship leadersstudent ministry and kids ministry. In case we’re just meeting, here’s little about my life.


Other Posts:

Getting Students Away Creates Powerful Moments

Seven Ways To Help Engage Parents In Your Student Ministry

What Really Keeps Students Involved


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