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Developing Leaders From Within Your Youth Ministry

Leadership is a must in student ministry—and the most effective student pastors focus on developing leaders from within.

This breakout will help you develop a simple filter for finding and developing great leaders within your student ministry. It can also be used as a platform for discipleship among your volunteers.

  • John 15:2
  • 1 Peter 5:1-4
Iron on iron logo, snowbird youth ministry conference


March 2025

Transcript: DEveloping Leaders From Within Your Youth Ministry

All right. So it’s 4:30. I know your guys’ brains are probably filled to the max, right? So what I wanted to do, I’ve been praying through this specific breakout for a while, and this year what I wanted to try to do is give you something very, very practical, very applicable that you could take from here and hopefully apply directly to your student ministry. So Zach has like 27 PowerPoint slides that he’ll send you with details. This is what I got. I texted that to Donnie like 30 seconds ago, amen to all my unorganized brothers that God uses. Here we go. Can I get a praise? All right. This is a leadership strategy that I’ve used over time, and it’s called the three sets of three. And It’s a strategy I use to develop leaders within student ministry or in ministry in general. And It’s three qualities for leadership, three positions for development, and three seasons, not reasons. See, when you do it last minute, three seasons for growth. Cool. It’s really practical. It’s really simple. We’ll kind of walk through. I’m reading this book right now by William McRaven. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that one graduation speech from that Navy Seal guy that went viral several years ago. And He’s written several books. There’s a book called The Wisdom of the Bullfrog or something like that but In it, he said something in one of the chapters that it really struck me.

And He was talking about in mid-2000s when he was in the Navy Seals and high up and one of his commanders came in and they were talking about Al-Qaeda and the network across the world. And He came in and he said, we need to develop a network to defeat a network. And just, and everybody was like, this is impossible, da da da. And He said, hope is not a strategy. So We’re gonna build a strategy to defeat the enemy. And as I was thinking about this breakout, if you’ve ever came to Snowbird or any of the breakouts or whatever, I am very passionate about culture. And I’m very passionate about equipping student ministries to engage in the culture. And My response to that was, we need a culture to defeat a culture. Your student ministry is a culture. When a student walks into your student ministry, they are walking into a subculture. And That subculture, I’m praying, is going to influence them more than the culture that they live in. And You might feel like that’s a big task, but I firmly believe that God has equipped you and placed you where you are and is entrusting you as a shepherd to create a culture that can defeat a culture. Let’s not forget that creating Christianity was birthed under the Roman Empire.

Christianity does very, very well as the underdog. And Guess what’s still standing today, right? So I’m very passionate about leadership. I’m very passionate about environments. And the reason why I wanna start this conversation off with culture, Is because, this is gonna be a leadership conversations, but the leaders that you choose to be in your student ministry are absolutely the ones that are shaping the culture.

John Maxwell has a famous quote, right? He says, leadership is influence whether they have positions of authority or not, right? There are people in your student ministry that are influencing and shaping the culture. And I like to have that conversation because as soon as a student steps into your, ministry, before you have a conversation with them, before you can disciple them or take them out for coffee or get them into your small group, do you realize that your culture is already discipling them? Do you get that. Culture disciples individuals, you send your kids to public schools, right? I listened to this podcast. I cannot remember what it was, but it was a guy talking about Henry Newbegin, who was a British missionary who went to India and spent the majority of his life in India. And he came back to England.

And when he came back 20 years later, he was like, what happened to England? We used to be a Christian nation. We’re not a Christian nation anymore. And so he took a missionary strategy within his culture and he started sending the people out like I would too, within his church out into the culture to evangelize, England. And what was happening is the culture was eating them alive. Does that sound familiar? Right? So we’re sending our kids into public schools and our kids are walking around with TikTok and our kids are being discipled by the culture 24/7. And so what is the counterculture your environment, when they step into your church? And so this is why I’m so passionate about leadership and about leaders, because the leaders that you choose in your student ministry are absolutely shaping your culture. Cool. So again, very practical.

Culture is values. What do you value? Beliefs, obviously, hopefully we’re all orthodox Christians in here. Language, right? I love that. One of my favorite verses that I implement in every single ministry that I ever step into, let no word proceed it out of your mouth, except that which is edifying, that you may impart grace to the hearer. What kind of language do the students hear immediately when they come in your ministry? Is it edifying? Is it encouraging? Is it speaking life into them, right? Especially in a context where they come from such negativity. I remember my niece came to Snowbird, she actually visited me. She was a broken home. She ran away from home. She came a ward of the state at 16 years old, and then she came out and visited me one summer. She was really quiet, you know, she spent time in my youth group. We came up to Snowbird and she was really quiet and I had a conversation with her. She got saved a year later. And she said, “between your student ministry and going to Snowbird I couldn’t understand the environment because I was experiencing so much love that I had never experienced in my life and my own family.

People come on on Snowbird campus and they’re like, oh, I just feel the Lord’s presence here. Right? It’s people, It’s people following Jesus. And it shifts the whole environment. The language shifts, the attitude shifts, the heart shifts. When students step in your ministry is the culture of your ministry, is it pulling them before you even have a conversation and getting the word? Is it pulling them towards Jesus? And a lot of that has to do with the values, the beliefs, the language that’s represented. And it’s your leaders that are influencing that. You understand leadership, how important it is. You ever been, that one person walks in the room and it deflates the whole room. The negative Nancy, The pessimistic person that just has that outlook and everything that they say is just negative, negative, negative. And what happens to the environment shifts.

What about that other person that steps into the room and it’s like they could just light it up? And I understand, I’m not talking about personality. You have the extrovert and the introvert, and you know, I’m just talking about what happens when a person who is full of the Lord steps in the room, will it change the environment? It should. And so we’re looking at our student ministry, and you should be looking at your leadership team and leaders in general and are they shifting the environment towards Jesus or are they pulling it away? 

So that’s where the first thing comes in. And it’s, three qualities for leadership. So I’m gonna walk through 1 Peter 5:1-4. And that’s my expositional piece for this breakout, So nobody emails Zach. You don’t have to use these. What I’m encouraging you is you should have three character qualities that represent or reflect Jesus that you’re looking for to invite people into leadership. Those should be on your mind all the time. I used to carry them in my wallet. I have personal core values. Whatever that looks like. You should have three qualities, five qualities. You pick the number three things that you’re like, this is a person I’m looking for to serve in my student ministry. Maybe those bend and shift based upon the students that are in your ministry. I really need people that are very patient in this season.

Oh, we have a ton of athletes. I need people that are act, whatever it is. But I’m talking about you need three qualities, character qualities that reflect Jesus. And that is a filter that you use to recruit and disciple leaders in your student ministry. Because again, those leaders are creating culture and we’re shifting the culture, right? So I’m gonna use 1 Peter 5. And this is qualities of a good shepherd. And it says, so I exhort the elders among you as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed right here. Shepherd the flock that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compassion or compulsion, but willing, willingly as God would have you, not for shameful gain, but eagerly not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd appears, you’ll receive the unfading crown of glory. So I’ve just, this has been a filter for me. So the first one is willing, right? So leaders are those who are willing to do the things that other people are unwilling to do.

Some of this, you know, this willingness could be reflected in the word humility. I love to have leaders serve on my team that are humble for multiple reasons. One, can they follow you? You are called to be the shepherd of the student ministry. Are they willing to follow you? Because you are not just discipling students, and we’re gonna talk about this. You are discipling your leaders because your leaders are discipling the students and the environment, And that’s super important. So I look for individuals that are willing to do the things that other people are unwilling to do. I remember my first, I first became a youth pastor in Virginia and there was a middle school youth pastor’s name was Jason Sherwin. Do we have any just middle school pastors in here? See, they just can’t even make it. You know what I mean? They’re just like, I need a nap. Not a conference.

Middle school ministry is one of the hardest, it’s one of the hardest to staff. And I first, became the student pastor Jason had just came on. He was older than me a lot of times. You know, there’s some conflict. I was like early 20s, like 24, 25, I think at that point he was maybe young 40s, late 30s, you know, there was like, the youth group was a mess. There was six kids that the best middle school youth pastor I’ve ever met in my life would get shot with Paintballs, did this thing, Cola wars, would just do things with middle school students that nobody else would do, that nobody enjoyed to do. And did it with a smile. And he still, to this day, is the best middle school youth pastor I’ve ever seen in my life. And he ended up taking over that ministry years down the road finally. ’cause they’re like, we can’t trust the middle school pastor to do this. You know what I mean? But he took it over and it was amazing. He just recently retired. But that, you know, looking for people that are willing to do the things that other peoples are unwilling to do. That’s the definition of love, right? Doing things for others and not expecting anything in return.

Qualities of a willing shepherd. Serve people before they ask you to serve people and expect nothing in return. Or those who like to go first, right? So I look for those who are willing, just one character. The second one he talks about is eager. It says, be shepherds of God. Flock under your care, watching over them. Not because you must, because you’re willing as God wants you. Not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve. This generation can smell bad motives, can’t they? They’re looking for authentic. You ever heard that? They’re looking for authentic and they’re obsessed with social media.

But you know what Social media trains them to do? Sniff out what’s fake. They know they live in a world that’s fake. They live in a world that people are constantly doing things, not because they wanna have a relationship with them because they want likes and clicks and, you know, will this, do you know what I mean? They live in that world. So they are actually looking for something that’s real. I remember I met this guy, Brandon Haggard, and Brandon, when he first came into our student ministry, he had long hair down to here. He had an ACDC shirt on. He sat in the front row and his bible was like, worn out. I said, yes, This was like early 2000s where hardcore music was like the thing, the screamo, I didn’t understand it, but I was like, all the kids were like, I was like, okay, cool. But I was like, ACDC knows, you know what I mean? 

And so I just watched him and he came, he sat in the front row, sat in the front row, and I asked him, I said, Hey, you know, are you ever interested in, I said, why don’t you come, serve at the, you know, or come hang out with the students. And it’s like, he would be like taking out the trash or whatever. I watched him, he worked in the auto parts store in stocking. And then he worked for the Greensboro Police Department in stocking. I say all that to say is that he came in with a servant’s heart and God has used that servant’s heart to like, to elevate him. And he was in that season long hair, ACDC shirt. He was pulling more people towards Jesus because he was a reflection of what it means to be a servant, right? And he was ready to serve. I have a core value. It’s serve first, lead second. It’s one of my personal core values that I have written and I remind myself all the time that my job is not to lead. It’s to be a servant. Jesus was a servant that I have come to serve. And so I look for servants in my student ministry because that is the most practical way to reflect the character of Jesus. And we’re student pastors. You know, we’re lock-ins and long bus rides and basketball games on Saturdays and pancake breakfast at 5:00 AM and.

The thing I love about being eager is, eager is, another word for that is ready. When you’re eager to serve, you come in and you’re looking for opportunities. When somebody’s just looking for leadership, they’re looking, you know, they want the platform, maybe they want the position and the title. When somebody’s eager to serve, there’s opportunities all around. And how many of us as youth pastors, we need help serving, you need people to assist you that are doing all of the little tasks, few things about being eager to serve, servants. Don’t ask what’s in it for me. Servants are devoted to the interests of others.

It’s kind of the same thing. Servants put others above themselves. I remember one story and I’ll keep moving ’cause of the time, so we were planning a church in Los Angeles and my wife, she’s back there, she was pregnant, boom, right? She was big pregnant and she was carrying, I think it was a, was it a pack of water bottles and something else. Oh, okay.


Let’s pray. Lord.


That’s right. You had the baby, you were carrying that, she had that baby carrier. It was out of the womb. And she was.


I’m making up for her. I’m making up for it. And she was, she carrying like water, and she was like two things in her hand and the baby on her chest. And one of the guys that had been coming to our church for a long time who was a Christian and graduated from a Christian school and blah, blah blah, and coming to our church. And he’s like, Hey. He’s like, do you guys need help with anything? I’m fine.

And she goes, that’d be great. And we had a pick-up at Starbucks where it was this big event thing that we were throwing, and she goes, Actually, we need somebody to run to the Starbucks, like two minutes around the corner, the one that’s on blah blah blah and grab the Starbucks for us and come back and he goes, “Oh man, I got a really good parking spot though.”


That’s church planning. That’s ministry right there. You know what I’m saying? You’re like, You are the Christian. I can’t decide for you anymore, there’s nothing else… You know what I mean? I was like… And my wife just smiled and she’s like, “Okay.” He wasn’t invited into leadership.


Eager to serve, that’s another filter of mine, last one is… And I think this is so important. Examples to the flock. I feel like this generation, more than any, we are in information overload, they have access to more information, right. TikTok is, there’s positive and more negative, but it’s constant with scripture right and they see clips of this and there’s podcasts and the… So it’s not a lack of information. This generation is, somebody, show me what it looks like to follow Jesus. Can somebody show me? Is it real? Is it real in your life? And I know you’re just one person, which is why we develop leaderships team and they’re looking at your leaders, can somebody show me what it looks like? Be Shepherd of God’s flock who’s under your care. Watching over them or not because you must because you’re willing as God wants you to be not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples. If there’s those individuals that sometimes the only tool they have in their bag is authority, you know, and that’s not the main tool that Jesus used. Right. So if that’s the main tool that we have to use, they’re really not following. Right.

We want them to follow Jesus. You know. And sometimes that means looking at our lives and watching us follow Jesus, and looking at our leaders, and watching them follow Jesus, and watching them follow Jesus when there’s a death in the family, and watching them follow Jesus when they graduate and celebrate, right and the seasons of highs and lows, students need examples of what it looks like to follow Jesus. The way you and your leaders are living their lives is either magnifying or muzzling the messages that you’re preaching, and guys we work hard on preaching messages, don’t we? 

Sometimes you don’t have any time, and you’re, and then you’re putting all this preparation into study and you’re pouring your heart out into the scriptures, and the scriptures are powerful. Don’t think I’m diminishing the power of God’s word. It could break something in a moment, continue to preach God’s word with passion, but let’s pay attention to how our leaders and how are we are living our lives in front of our students, ’cause if we’re living differently than we’re preaching, it’s diminishing. It’s diminishing. When you lead by example, you’re creating opportunities for people to choose a change, right. It’s like, I love to go to the mall and I love to sit.

Do we have malls anymore? Probably not, but I love to go in public spaces and watch people, you know, and it’s so funny, people wear the same things as their friends… You know what I mean? It’s like you got the skinny jean crew and you got the ’80s looking… It’s just how it is, right? ’cause we’re naturally followers, you know we follow by example, and when students, again, going back, when they step into your environment, right they’re gonna be following the actions and the lifestyle of those in the environment.

Yeah, in our current culture, the way you live your life is gonna speak louder than the words you say and you know the old saying, do as I do, not as I say. You know what I mean? Or Do as I say, not as I do, it’s you know, do as I say. So a couple of action steps. Who are the people in your church who are willing to do the things other peoples are unwilling to do? So… And we’ll talk about this. I am constantly looking for quality leaders, I don’t care how old you are, I don’t care how long you’ve been in our church, I’m constantly looking for quality leaders and I’m filtering through these characteristics… Right, and I am always, always recruiting and discipling and developing. Cool. Do leaders have a desire to lead or to serve, do those people come into it? Oh man, I have a call to preach. That’s awesome. Do you have a call to take out the trash…

You know what I’m saying? It’s like if you have a call to preach, I would love to see you take out the trash for a season. Does that make sense? You know… And the last question I asked, If I send a student to hang out with you for a day, would they look more like Jesus… You know, I love talking that even in different… You know your organization can have core values and a mission statement, all that, okay, if I sent this student to hang out with you for a day, are they gonna look more like Jesus? Okay, so that leads us into three positions of development, because I get it, some of you are like, “That’s cool. But we don’t always get to choose, right.” I mean sometimes it’s just, this is the leaders that we have, or you inherit or whatever, now, this is three positions of development and then we’re gonna close with seasons of growth, and I think that one’s super important, but this is three steps of trust.

Okay. And so I… I’ll just… I’ll read them. Okay. So three steps of development a task, a person, an environment. A task, a person an environment. Step one is, I’m gonna entrust you with a task. I’m gonna entrust you with a task. Matthew 25:21, The Master said, Well done, my good and faithful servant, you’ve been faithful. A little. I’ll bless you with much… Can I trust this person with a simple task, do they show up on time, do they complete the task that they’re given… Do they complain? Do they care about the little things, right. Tasks can be like on Wednesday night, they’re just there outside, greeting the students as they come in. Right. You need somebody to cook food for the spaghetti dinner, you need somebody to set up and tear down, you need somebody to drive your students to camp… It’s just a task. Right. A task is a way that I kind of introduce and it gives me an opportunity to watch them, you know, can they be faithful with the little things, right.

‘Cause this is where I’m like, Okay, I’ve watched them from a distance. I feel like this is the person you know that I’d like to bring into student ministry, you know or and we’ll talk about this, maybe you’re developing your high school students to start to serve in your middle school ministry. You know what I mean? So this isn’t just adults, but this is developing leaders, right. So sometimes your student ministry starts to grow and you’re developing leaders within right, so giving these students a task, can they handle the task? And the reason is, is because this is a great opportunity to disciple. So many times when we think about discipleship okay now now I’m… This is not one is better than the other.

When we talk about discipleship, we talk a lot about theology, right, and there’s also like character and leadership, right and so a part of this discipleship is like character, so I trust them with a task and it gives me an opportunity to speak in their life if they’re late… If they didn’t… You know, they didn’t care. Right, if I go to the place that they’ve been trusted with and it’s messy, it’s not like, “Oh mm, I’m gonna come down you.” It’s an opportunity to have a conversation, to start pouring into their life and seeing how they respond, how do they respond to your leadership… How do they respond to your correction? The second is now, okay, if I can trust them with a task, now I’m gonna… It’s a higher value. Now, I can trust them with a person, now I can trust them with a student, but each of you look not only for your own interest, but also for the interest of others. Philippians 2:4, Can I trust this person with a student, I listen to their words. Right. Do they speak kind words, kindness is love in action? Do they put others before themselves? Do they wanna hang out with students.

Here’s a couple of activities that I give a person. Right. Game night, right? It’s game night and you need people or like you’re doing games for youth group and whatever, and like I’m telling you, games is a great opportunity to see that competitive… You know what I mean? It’s like… Oh oh. Well, that’s a great conversation to have, you know. I met, well uh never mind… Tell another funny story and get in trouble with my wife. So let’s just keep moving.


Large group activities, this is hanging out with students afterwards, we used to take students to Wendy’s, this is any opportunity now, not small groups, not personal discipleship, but maybe they’re coming to Wednesday night right and they’re just kind of in the crowd, you know and you’re watching how they interact. Can I trust this individual with a person. Right, and then I’m speaking into their life about that, you know because I’m looking for their language, I’m looking… How do they interact with the student? You know what I mean? It’s like, do they come in and have a hard day, were they willing to put their hard day off to the side so they can invest in those students, all of that is opportunity for discipleship, and again, when you’re starting to disciple them and speak into their life, and they get better, all of a sudden guess what you’re doing, you’re shifting and shaping the culture, the culture is changing, now you have a group of leaders that are thinking of others before themselves. That the language that are coming out of their mouth is positive and encouraging that one negative leader right, and you’re pulling off to the side, you’re like, Man, you know I love you so much, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but tonight, and you said four negative things. I did, or you know that’s the positive version. You know what I mean? 

But it’s an opportunity to have that conversation. And if they respond to that, guess what? You just changed the environment. Not just the person. Right. And then people start to walk into your Youth group and it’s like, Man, I feel God in this place. And number three, this is probably, this is like the most important, but an environment.

This is a small group leader, a host home leader, right a Sunday school teacher, you know once a person can be trusted with a task and you’re like, Okay, you know they have good character, and then it’s like, Okay, now I can entrust them with a person and you know it’s like they’ve led with gentleness and humility, they know how to interact with students, now I can, it’s there’s this other level of like entrusting them with a space, you know. Do they know how to de-escalate an environment? Right. Small Groups is like that person saying the weird thing and it’s like, Oh, but they have to do it, you know it’s because they know how to lead with a student now they know how to lead with [0:31:08.8] ____ it’s oh hey, why don’t we wait until afterwards, right or you know the stuff that we deal with all the time, right? 

I put that passage down and I always thought it was interesting, you know when the chief priest comes out and they’re like crucify Jesus, and it says The Pharisees stirred up the crowd, you know the Pharisees stirred up the crowd… Isn’t it funny how individuals stir up a crowd, how one bad leader in your environment can shift the whole environment… One good leader in your environment can start to shift the whole thing. Does that make sense? 

Things I look for, how do you feel when this person enters into the room. If it gives you that uhh, feeling, probably don’t want them leading a small group. Can they elevate or de-escalate in the space? Another important one, do others follow them? Right. And again, this is not about like attraction, or personality, you know, this is just about like, do other kids trust them, your students will tell you sometimes, it’s like, you know. Okay, last section.

You guys with me on that. Okay. And I’ll be here afterwards to answer any questions or whatever, it’s supposed to be simple, but now this is probably my favorite three seasons of growth, and on here I have growth and pruning. That’s really important.

Growth and pruning. You know, as an individual, God prunes before he grows at times. Sometimes pruning hurts. You are and have been entrusted with your student ministry, sometimes you have to prune your leadership. That’s hard, I understand. We’re not doing it for ourselves. John 15:2, Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes that it may bear more fruit. So this is really, really simple. Three seasons of growth and pruning fall, spring, summer. Okay, fall, spring, summer, I have set up my student ministry, you could set it up however you want, you could do four seasons, whatever. I set up my student ministry in different seasons because it gives me the opportunity to invite and evaluate, to recruit and also to prune in each semester and each season, and that’s super important as you’re developing and making disciples of your leadership team. Right. So let’s just real quick about different seasons, what’s fall… What happens in the fall? In student ministry? 

School starts. Big shift. What else? 

[background conversation]

Sports, football. Right. If you’re in Tuscaloosa it’s probably shapes your ministry… You know what I mean? It’s like, right, football season. What else happens, Thanksgiving, you know. So every season has different you know things that happen in there, so it just gives you an opportunity to look ahead to plan what’s the vision for the semester gonna be? What are the activities that we’re gonna do? You know what I mean? It just helps you focus your discipleship lens, and you use those not as like, Oh man, you know spring breaks coming up, oh spring break’s coming up, that’s a great opportunity. Our team’s ready for missions. Fall then Christmas break. I’ve always used Christmas break as this like in between time you know to kind of, you know… Everybody chills out and then I’m like, I’m like, evaluating leadership. Spring. What happens in the spring? What’s January 1st? New Year. New Years, I love New Years, it’s one of my favorite thing, because everybody’s talking about new. Right. New me, new workout plans. Guess what new leadership? 


What else happens in the spring… What’s Christian Super Bowl? 


Easter. Spring break baseball, graduation, summer. Right. What happens in summer everybody and their cousin goes on vacation and your youth group goes, you know, or whatever. I used to turn that into what I always did, ’cause we had a student ministry that had that a lot, I turned that into a… I would do like summer staff and I would bring in all these college students, and like it just made all our students wanna come all summer long. Right. Summer is an opportunity for college students and internships and flexible schedules, and summer camp, hey. Come to Snowbird. Cool. So this is really what I wanna talk about, onboarding and evaluation, every semester is an opportunity for you to cast vision for your whole leadership team.

So what I would do in the beginning of each semester, I would have like, I would bring all of our leadership team and I would remind them of our core values and what we’re doing as a student ministry, and why we’re here, because it’s an opportunity to continue to speak into their life and to remind them of who we’re looking for, and what the desire is, and then also when you’re bringing new leaders and they’re getting to know your other leadership team, they’re like, Oh, this is what we’re about, right and they feel a part of the team, you get to reinforce those values, new leadership. Right it’s also… And then at the end of each semester is an opportunity for evaluation and transition… Now, a part evaluation is one of the ways you’re gonna shape culture is by celebrating the wins, okay, I love to celebrate my leaders.

I do it all semester, I don’t wait, but if one of your, if somebody in your leadership team is doing something that you want everybody else to do, you celebrate it publicly right. Man, we’re so grateful. I just wanna give a shout out to Doby. Doby stayed afterwards. We had a big pizza party, I know everybody was super tired, it was a midnight… He stayed up, he cleaned the whole thing. Hey, can we just give them a round of applause, we appreciate that because I’m shouting out Servant leadership, serving character. You know what I mean like? 

And so in those end of the semester, when I celebrate, you know we’ll have a big party and it’s an opportunity for me to just… What this is, is discipleship, it’s me investing in my leaders. Sometimes you’re so busy. You don’t even get a chance to say thank you. Am I right? And it’s not like you’re not grateful, you’re busy. We’re focused on students. But this is an opportunity. There’s two big moments that I would have each semester, it’s my onboarding where I get a chance to cast vision and maybe God laid something on my heart for this semester, and I’m like, Hey guys, I’m so excited this semester, this is what we’re doing, you know we have… This year, we have all we have seven seniors, and we’re really gonna focus on developing these seniors ’cause we want them to be the future leaders of our student ministry. This is the plan… Whatever. Does that make sense? 

And then transition those who are not on your team, if someone can’t follow your leadership or your discipleship, they should join another team.

[background conversation]

I know, easier said than done. He’s been there. Proverbs 10:17, The one who follows instructions or correction is on the path of life, but the one who rejects correction goes astray. If you have leaders that on your team, that can’t receive your correction, they can’t be on your team, they shouldn’t be on your team, and so it’s just an opportunity, and this is not about tearing somebody down, maybe they don’t connect with your leadership… That’s fine. God has entrusted you in this season as the student pastor, maybe they connect better with the children’s pastor.

Paul and Mark had to part ways. They were both believers and Christians, they parted ways and then they came back in the end. Right? 

Yeah, you’ve been entrusting, you’ve been entrusted with your leadership team, your leadership team is shaping your culture, your culture is discipling your students, now you are also discipling your students with your Bible studies and your messages and your one-on-one, and hopefully you have a leadership team that you can entrust to do the same thing with you, but before we even get there, when a student walks into your ministry, the character of the individuals that are leading are already shaping the environment and they’re discipling your students, and if there’s somebody in your environment that’s pulling them away from the Gospel because of their attitudes, because of their lifestyle, maybe it’s just ’cause of a season, maybe they’re having a hard season, and it’s just time to say, Hey, you know what, listen, I love you, maybe this season isn’t a time… That’s why I love to do semesters ’cause I say, Hey, why don’t we just pause for a semester, why don’t you just take a break and see if you can come back maybe in the summer, we can re-evaluate…

It just gives you an opportunity because… What’s that classic saying? It’s easier to hire than it is to fire, and we’re not… These are volunteers. And so that’s why this is about investing in discipling, this is about us pouring into our leaders, because hopefully your student leaders are gonna be youth pastors one day and pastors, and they’re serving in student ministry ’cause God has given them a passion, so you’re just developing them and investing in them in the same way you’re doing the students. And I remember years ago, 10 years ago, whatever, multiplication was this big word, everybody was writing books, this is what multiplication looks like, it’s just you discipling and investing in your leaders, you know.

Because we need a culture to counter a culture right. And so your culture that you have been entrusted with, that you are creating by God’s grace through your leadership team, is discipling your students. Alright, so hopefully this is really helpful, really practical, the three threes. Three character traits, okay, three positions of, that you can disciple and elevate, and three seasons of growth that you can bring on, and you can ask to step down.

April 23, 2024

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