(Left) - the youth pastor. (Right) Me, Tim, on guitar leading for a youth ministry night. Circa 1988 - notice the overhead projector.
Our youth pastor (left) with me, Tim (right), on guitar, leading worship for a youth ministry night (circa 1988).

I was first invited to serve when student ministry was called youth group and worship songs were “fast or slow” songs. Our youth pastor asked me to play guitar and lead music during youth group. When I was a sophomore in high school, he gave me a note: “Tim, I will be gone this week. Can you make sure the video player is ready to go for the video that will be shown during youth group tonight? Thanks for your leadership!” I kept that note for a long time.

Being invited to lead on several levels throughout my middle and high school years gave me a foundation to the work that I have been involved in most every day of my life since that time.

Inviting students into ministry can be formative and life changing as they realize God has given them gifts that they can use in the kingdom.

Here are ten practical ways to “give away” ministry leadership to students in your group:

1) Tech Leadership – Invite students to create videos; run presentation lyrics during worship; help with sound, set up, and photography; create graphics for publicity, and handle other tech opportunities.

2) Music Leadership – Invite students to lead singing; play instruments; or develop a play list for worship in youth worship or the church.  Invite students to attend conferences and events where people are leading music and teaching how to lead worship.

3) Speaking Leadership – Invite students to share the devotion for the night; share a testimony; teach on a subject; or speak in church about a mission trip or student ministry event.

4) Small Group Leadership – Invite students to lead small groups.  Empower older students to lead younger ones.  Always have assistant small group leaders who are given the responsibility of being present, connecting, and helping.

5) Administrative Leadership – Invite students to help with admin tasks, such as mailing newsletters; helping with follow up; tracking attendance; writing thank you notes and cards; organizing a room; or anything else.

6) Social Media Leadership – Invite students to help staff a social media page for the ministry.  Extra care may be needed as you give over the voice in social media, but older, faithful, quality students can easily lead the way in reaching out through social media.

7) Promotional Leadership – Invite students to help plan and promote events.  Help them to create ways to make events or special ministries appealing for friends and the community.  Always be thinking of entry points for new kids in your ministry.

8) Creative Leadership – Invite students to decorate the student ministry space with art or photography that will make the space original.  Let them design t-shirts, graphics for a series, banners for worship, a summer collage, the student ministry logo, or other creative components.

9) Game Leadership – Invite students to lead games during your student ministry times.  This often opens the door to students being more engaged in games led by a confident peer.

10) Church Leadership – Invite students to serve in various aspects of the overall church, such as as tech leaders, worship leaders, and on and on.  Look for ways to be the intergenerational church we are privileged to be.  Student leadership should permeate all aspects of the church.



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