(Part 2) 4 things I teach student leaders

Do some refer to your youth group as cliquey?
Who notices the new kids or the visitors?
Is your group known as friendly?
If not, make sure you Go here for part 1 post from yesterday:

2. Step Out of Your Circle
One of the biggest complaints visitors will verbalize about visiting churches is that “no one talked with me.” Or maybe, “the group had to many cliques.”

We need to be pro-active about stepping away from our circle of friends to initiate conversation with someone who is new, or maybe just sitting alone.

Many of us have “greeters” who stand by the door at youth group and welcome people; but what about after that? What about the kids sitting alone in the cafeteria at school? What about the people we encounter in our community?

Jesus always seemed to seek out the rejected loner. Zacchaeus (Luke 19), the woman at the well (John 4), Matthew (Matthew 9)… maybe we should do the same.

3. Verbalize Your Faith
How many of our student leaders know how to tell their faith story?

I’m not against teaching our students to lead worship or run a soundboard. These are great skills that can be used for ministry. But is all our ministry limited to the four walls of the church building? The fact is, we need to equip young people for faith conversations that happen in and out of a church building. We need to help our student leaders be prepared to answer anyone who asks them the reason for the hope that’s with in them (I Peter 3:15)

I always take my student leaders through a few weeks of evangelism training. If you’re not sure what that looks like, use resources like Greg Stier’s Life in 6 Words, or my Real Conversations evangelism training on DVD.

4. Discover Your Gifts
I want every one of my student leaders to know how God has gifted them. Some of our students will be natural leaders. Some will have the gift of helps. Some will have compassion for the homeless. As adult leaders, we need to be ready to help our students discover their gifting and begin to use it.

One-on-one discipleship is a great place to help student find their gifting. Mentors notice strengths and help students identify them. Use passages like I Corinthians 12 where Paul writes about spiritual gifts. Or look at student leadership books like my Ministry By Teenagers where we develop an entire chapter to helping students find their gifting.

You’ll be amazed to see what God will begin to do through young people when they discover their God given gifts and begin using them to his glory.

* * *

Don’t cancel worship team practice this week, and don’t disassemble your greeter’s table. These are good tools for one small aspect of our ministry: our program. But let’s think beyond program. These four practices are simple tools that help us be Jesus to a world that desperately needs Him.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to train and equip your student leaders even more, consider bringing them to Doug’s upcoming student leadership conference.

Question: what would you add to this list? Share it here.

GUEST POST by Jonathan McKee. Jonathan has become a regular guest blogger on this site! He is the author of numerous books including the brand new Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, as well as youth ministry books like Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation. You can find his excellent blog here.

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