I love seeing students be the church, and a great way they can do that is through our student leadership program. They really get to take ownership of our program and general ministry. We gave students a voice when we first started our student leadership program by letting them develop our mission statement and code of conduct. Here’s a glance at what we came up with.
Impact Student Leadership team within High School Ministry (HSM) are just but a bunch of ordinary students rising up to serve their church, school, and community – creating an HSM culture where students are welcomed and where they can encounter Jesus.
We are committed to living out Matthew 20:26 which says, “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.”
Our Slogan: We Lead By Serving
We also came up with seven ways they would conduct themselves, and I charged them with holding each other accountable to that code they developed. As always, this is the tough part of leadership because no one wants to have tough conversations. But it’s an important part of leadership and not something students automatically know how to do. Leaders must learn and grow in this area by doing it. So I walk with them in this area, challenging them to be leaders even when it’s difficult.
I’ll share three of the seven items in our code of conduct. I hope it inspires you not to just give your students a leadership program, but to let them take part in building and owning the leadership program.
- We won’t use our influence for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others. Philippians 2:3
- The thought process behind this idea is using your influence as a student leader for the good of another student and not for selfish gain. Perhaps it’s using your influence to grab coffee or food after service to better connect with a new student or a student going through a rough time; as opposed to using your influence to get another donut because you set them out or because you have to clean it up anyways.
- We will be inclusive and not exclusive, just as Jesus was who died for everyone and not just a few. NO CLIQUES. James 2:1
- The thought process behind this idea is centered on the fact that we are already a clique just by being student leadership. So we need to be intentionally inclusive to all those we meet. We must go out of our way to love on all who come to our ministry.
- We will be cautious about not letting our lives cause others to stumble. 2 Corinthians 6:3
- Leaders live above reproach; that’s not a suggestion, it’s a commandment from God.
- This concept is often very foreign during the teenage years. We walk through this one with our students very slowly because more times than not this will be the area they fail the most, which is alright; we learn and grow from mistakes. Instead of being a manager of their wrong, you as the youth worker need to be an inspiration and a reminder to them that God’s mercy affords us the opportunity to change and grow in the right direction. You need to be a voice that says, “Christ broke the power of sin over our lives so we are free not to sin.” They already feel convicted because the Holy Spirit is doing his job. We need to be leaders that inspire hope in the darkest places in our students’ lives because that’s what Jesus does for us. Remember, you are raising leaders that will someday do the same for others.
I can tell you that giving students a voice in building and owning our leadership program has made a huge difference. We as a ministry are reaping the benefits of it.
What does student leadership look like in your ministry?
Hope it helps,