5 Steps To Developing A Student Leadership Team

The strategy for growth in youth ministry for too long has been, let’s find the coolest, hippest youth pastor and let them attract students because of their dynamic speaking and attractive charisma.

It was all about the rockstar youth pastor.

The thought of getting teens to do anything in this approach is almost unthinkable.
We so desperately need to build a youth ministry that goes beyond ourselves. We are called to make disciples who make disciples. It can’t end with us, or with them. The day of spoon-feeding is over, now it’s time to rally your students and develop them to lead in your youth ministry. It’s time to develop Student Leaders.

Here are 5 important steps to developing a Student Leadership team:


In this step, you’ll want to think through 4 important questions:

  • What is our youth group’s vision? Make sure it’s clear and something students will grab ahold of that’s bigger than themselves.

  • What areas can I get students to speak into and build? Make a list of EVERYTHING you do as a youth group and every area that needs someone’s help. Everything from musicians, to setting up video games, to greeting, etc.

  • Is there oversight into each area? Make sure there is either an adult, or a capable student leader you trust responsible to oversee the different areas you’ve listed.

  • What do I want our Student Leadership program to look like? There are many ways you can make it work. You’ll have some great ideas, but here are a few thoughts to get you going:

    • Have ALL of your student leaders serve in setting up and tearing down for a youth night. 

    • Give them a specific area to serve in that they are gifted in.

    • Don’t just get your student leaders doing menial tasks, but also give them load-bearing roles to serve in that will continually stretch them.

    • Meet with them weekly before youth starts to pray for the night, monthly for leadership training and community, one or two times a year to help speak into yearly planning, once a year for a training getaway (Vivid Student Leadership Conference is the perfect place for this), once a year for a missions trip.

    • Give them some goals to meet and hold them accountable to them, for example: Read through the New Testament in a year (track through Bible App), listen to recommended podcasts, blogs, other reading, invite a friend to youth group per semester, promote youth ministry through social media once a month, etc.


Now that you have taken time to dream and think through what your Student Leadership Team will look like, now it’s time to recruit.

Start by approaching a few key youth that you feel have leadership potential.

Ask them if they would consider serving as a student leader and have a specific area in mind that you feel they are interested in for them to serve in.


Make sure you provide ongoing support for your Student Leadership team. Healthy leaders are constantly learning and growing. 

Give them the tools they need to succeed.


Now that everyone is on the same page and understands their role, it’s time to launch your team.


After you launch your Student Leadership Team, you have to make sure they have caught the vision. It’s all about making disciples. This is not about them doing the tasks you don’t want to do.

It’s about them being sent out to work together to see their friends come to Christ. It’s about them discovering their passions and finding their place in the Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ. It’s about them multiplying.

Reflection questions:

  1. What step are you on right now in developing Student Leaders?

  2. Is there a step you need to revisit and make some changes to?

  3. Have your Student Leaders caught the vision? Are they making disciples, or are they just doing tasks?

Check out this blog on the importance of Engaging the Next Generation. Also, check out this interview below we did with Hope Thomas & Jeremy Berry from North Pointe in Edmonton to get some fresh ideas on how to do Student Leadership well.

For the full, in-depth interview, subscribe to the ABNWT Youth Podcast on iTunes.