Rudyard Kipling said in the Law of the Jungle, “the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” This couldn’t be truer in student ministry. I cannot be a lone wolf, I need to run with a pack.
One of the hardest parts about my job is not developing and deploying leaders, it is finding leaders that want to be developed and deployed. Recruiting leaders is a difficult task. This was something that in my previous career as a teacher I did not have to think about a whole lot. Coming into student ministry I quickly learned that I couldn’t do it alone. Student ministry is a team sport. I am just looking for some people who want to play. I am going to write a series of blogs about leaders: recruiting them, creating a culture that values leaders, and developing leaders. After conversations and workshops with people smarter than I am I have gleaned a lot of ideas and strategies and trying to put them in place. To start off this series here are a few ideas of the areas of people I have been tapping into and why they can fit into student ministry well.
Within the church there are a few groups of people that would be naturally inclined to help with student ministry. Having connections with these people and developing bridges to connect these people into student ministry is a great way to recruit new volunteer leaders.
- Students that have gone onto college offer a great opportunity to become leaders in our student ministry. They already know students in the group, the other leaders, and understand the culture of your student ministry. College students that are coming to your church from another place are still great to use. They can communicate a relevancy to the growing faith of the students. Our student ministry team has decided to start a college group in order to continue the relationships we built with students while they were in high school while being intentional of creating leaders for our student ministry. *We are mindful of placement and often place a younger college student with middle school students or freshman in order to create a boundary with some of their old friends and older high school students.
- There is a lot of twenty something people that attend our church. We are creating ways for these young people to build connections with our students. They have good wisdom, experience and ability to be relevant to students. Young adults, sometimes, also have time to give to students and your ministry that married couples simply do not have. Many times young adults are your friends or will invite their friends to join them in serving. Looking back on the times in ministry that I was most excited to go and students were really excited to attend was when leaders had friendships that just made leading students fun. The fun is contagious. Look for ways to invite the young adults in your church to connect with students.
- Parents of students are another great resource to tap into for potential leaders. First they are the parents. Part of your job is to connect with the families of your students and this opportunity makes that step so much easier. They have children attending your student ministry so they are already invested in what you, as the leader, are doing at the church. Parents are a great resource to host groups, lead students, and transport them around. Parents are a crucial resource for everything in student ministry and often go unnoticed as potential student leaders. Find ways to honor the parents of your students and have a conversation about it looks like for them to start serving with students.
No matter what group of people you are looking to recruit leaders from, you cannot miss out on this one important component. Personally invite them to be a student leader. Share with them your vision for student ministry; let them see your passion, tell them why you think they would be a great fit. Talk them through the logistics of it all some later on; inspire them to want to serve. Extend the invitation of becoming a student leader to those in your church, be personal, and ask students who they would like to hang around with as a leader, and continue to be prayerful in everything.