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BY DOUG FRANKLIN PRESIDENT OF LEADERTREKS

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Student Leaders are Church Leaders Copyright © 2010 by LeaderTreks

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or otherwise – without the prior permission of the copyright holder, except as permitted by USA law.

Published by LeaderTreks 25W560 Geneva Road, Suite 30, Carol Stream, IL 60188 All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Part 1: The Case for Student Leadership ............................... 4 Student Leadership is Church Leadership ............................................. Renters vs. Owners .................................................................... Three Truths About Leadership Undeniable Benefits ................................................................... Leadership Can Be Learned .......................................................... Leadership Changes Everything .....................................................

5 5 6 7 7

Part 2: Developing Student Leaders ....................................... 9 The Leadership Development Model ................................................... 9 Leadership Learned .................................................................. 10 Leadership Experienced ............................................................. 12 Leadership Challenged ............................................................. 13 Leadership Evaluated ................................................................ 15

The Most Powerful Tools in the Kingdom ........................... 16


PART 1

| The Case for Student Leadership

The band is already playing when the big double doors open to let the parishioners into the sanctuary. They stream into the aisles finding their seats and greeting people as they walk. All around the room faces light up as loving embraces are exchanged between friends. As the band begins leading the congregation in worship, it all appears like just another normal Sunday morning. And yet something is drastically different. While everyone is wearing their Sunday best, hundreds of them stand with no shoes on their feet and the offering plates are filled to the brim with change. There must be a reason for this unorthodox style of Sunday morning worship. And there is. Did you know the average cost to wear a pair of shoes each day is $.41? Every single shoeless man, woman, and child standing in this sanctuary knows this and they have decided in mass to give their daily shoe allowance to charity in hopes their small sacrifice will make a difference in the Kingdom. And it has. Halfway across the world in Zimbabwe, an orphanage filled with needy children now has the needed funds to help provide food and water, medical assistance, and education (which is the only way out of poverty for most of these children). On top of everything, they are also hearing daily about the saving power of Jesus Christ. Sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it? Amazing a church would come together as a congregation and unselfishly sacrifice so others could be blessed. It’s a great idea. Yet this idea did not come from the senior pastor. Or the associate pastor or even the worship pastor. Students are the The idea for the shoeless Sunday came from a small group of high school students who wanted to help people in poverty. They were burdened by most powerful what they saw and decided they could help bring about change. Fueled by tools in God’s their youth pastor, they stepped out and took a risk, and ended up influenhands. cing their entire congregation, who in turn stepped across a whole ocean, changing the lives of orphans in Zimbabwe. Students, whom many wouldn’t give the time of day when it came to church leadership, actually became powerful tools in the church that morning. In fact, I believe students are the most powerful tools in God’s hands.

Many of us know the statistic put out years ago where the Billy Graham Association found 85% of people who come to know Jesus do it before the age of 18. And the latest stats are even saying before the age of 14.1 In response to these statistics we’ve created youth ministries to reach out to Smith, Christian., with Patricia Snell. Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults. New York, New York: Oxford International Press, 2009. 1

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students, but maybe we have been going about it all wrong. After all, who is the most influential person of people under the age of 18? Other people under the age of 18. So if we’re going to see a wave of people come to know Jesus, we need to realize it’s mostly going to happen when it is driven by students—the very students you disciple in your youth ministry today. Your students are the most powerful and influential people God will use to reach our nation. What’s heartbreaking is we know many of our students are apathetic and disengaged from the church. It’s not surprising when many church leaders think of students as kids who need to be talked down to and not as leaders of the church. So, it is my belief we need to change the way we view youth ministry. Church can no longer have ministries to students, but instead replace them with student-led ministries to the world. This change is not about you having a student leadership program in your church. Believe me, I’m not trying to add one more activity to your long list of youth ministry programs. I want to be very clear about this: Youth ministry is still about outreach, evangelism, discipleship, missions, and worship; it’s just better when led by students. This book is really about that idea. Weaving student leadership into the fabric of your youth ministry.

STUDENT LEADERSHIP IS CHURCH LEADERSHIP We’ve got to start with this realization: student leadership is church leadership. Student led youth ministry cannot be ignored. Our students are graduating and leaving the church in droves. Around only 20% of churched teenagers are engaged in faith when they reach the age of 29 according to The Barna Group.2 But we don’t need a stat to tell us that. If you are a youth worker with more than three years of experience at a single church you know many of your graduated students aren’t going to church anymore. The truth is the church is one generation away from being out of leaders…and all the future leaders just left the building. We need to help our students lead now! First and foremost so they will become owners of their faith and not participants of church events. Second of all, so they can lead the church in the future. Renters versus Owners Consider the reality that many students are renters of their youth ministry and not owners. When we have activity after activity designed to attract students to our programs, students very quickly can get the idea it’s all about them. And if they don’t like one of the activities, they’ll either stay home, or in some cases, go to another church’s activity they like more. Very quickly we get The Barna Group “Most Twentysomethings Put Christianity on the Shelf Following Spiritually Active Teen Years.” 11 September 2006. <http://www.barna.org/teens-next-gen-articles/147-most-twentysomethings-put-christianity-on-the-shelf-followingspiritually-active-teen-years>. 2

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caught up into the rat race of trying to put on activities students like, losing sight of the fact that our programs were supposed to help them grow more like Christ, not just entertain them. Our students begin to ask themselves “what have you done for me lately?” So why are we surprised when they get out of high school or go to college, they continue to look for the next activity and ask themselves, “what’s in it for me?” Ultimately, the world has a ton of activities to offer them that seem a lot more entertaining. We soon discover our students were actually renters of the church, not owners. Renters participate, they hang around, they may even be involved, but they’re not truly committed. When the lease is up, it’s time to move on. Owners on the other hand invest themselves, grow deep roots, and stay for the long haul. There’s a huge difference between renters and owners. It’s only natural that ownership gives birth to leadership. Owners are the ones who put their time, talent and treasure into the ministry. They understand the idea of personal responsibility and sacrifice, and that leads to leadership. A student who is an owner of their faith and an owner of the church can’t help but influence others. Aren’t they the ones who bring their friends, plan the events, and bring depth into their small groups? Owners turn into leaders. Our job is to be the frontline trainers for their long-term growth in leadership. When you spend your time creating owners and developing students as leaders, there will be a benefit that lasts beyond their high school graduation.

THREE TRUTHS ABOUT LEADERSHIP Undeniable Benefits I believe when we spend time developing our students as leaders, everyone of them benefits from it. All of us, at different times in our lives are going to play the role of leaders. Whether we have a leadership role at work, or have two kids in the back seat, we are leaders. We cannot get away from leadership. Jesus said to his disciples as he was leaving this earth, “go into all the world and make disciples.” Essentially what he was telling them was to go into the world and become change agents. Transform my people from the inside out through the power of my Spirit. That call or Co-Mission we are on alongside Christ, I believe is actually a call to leadership. He is asking us to own the mission by leading the change. This world is not going to change unless we stand up and say, “we are going in the wrong direction! We need a change!” This world is not going to change until we get into the messiness of each other’s lives. That’s going to take leadership. When your students own their faith they will lead change. Their schools will change. Their families will change. And their own lives will change as they take risks and lead in God’s Kingdom. Ultimately, a lot of people will benefit from their development as leaders. If you or your students think you can avoid leadership, I believe you are making a huge mistake. Being a disciple of Christ and being a leader go hand in hand. Copyright © 2010

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Leadership Can Be Learned The good news about all of this is leadership CAN be learned. We’ve all seen the light bulb go on in a student when they own their faith and become passionate about reaching one of their friends for Christ. But we’ve also seen it get messy. Unintentionally, they might beat their friend with the reality of Hell and a long list of Do’s and Don’ts. They are trying to live out the Great Commission and lead change, but they might not be leading well. This is where leadership training from you is crucial. Leadership is really just a set of principles lived out in any given situation. I do believe in the spiritual gift of leadership, which is unique to some people given by the Holy Spirit for the benefit of the church. It is spoken about in scripture and cannot be denied. But just like those of us without the gift of giving can learn to give, those of us without the gift of leadership can learn to lead. And just like giving, we are asked to lead. When our students learn the principles of intentional communication, strategic planning, and risktaking, etc., they will be able to apply these principles when the opportunity for leadership arises. This is why it is so important for us to be teaching students principles of leadership, while also creating opportunities for them to put them into practice. Leadership can and should be learned. Any student who owns their faith will step into leadership at some point. The question becomes, “how will they lead?” Leadership Changes Everything If we look at history, politics, and even scripture, we will notice almost every time something transformational happens in the world, it happens through a leader. The leadership of the disciples, the stubbornness of Winston Churchill, the servant-hood of Mother Teresa. This is true for our students and for our youth ministries. If you were to personally grow as a leader, what would it mean for your youth ministry? How would it change? If you had just ten senior guy and girl leaders in your youth ministry, how would it be different? Leadership could change everything from group dynamics to focus, to impact, to souls. Here’s the problem though. Leadership has a bad rap, given by bad leaders. From student government to the United States government, students have become disillusioned by leaders. They see it as a title that means nothing. We have to help them separate leaders from leadership; after all, leadership didn’t do anything wrong. The fact remains though, leadership changes everything, and if our students want to see or have impact in the world, they will need to embrace leadership. I believe for the sake of the church we must help our students understand the impact their leadership can have. If we want to see AIDS eradicated from the planet, sex slavery end, or clean water pour in every village, it will be because the students of this generation counted the cost and became leaders, serving others through the power of Christ. Honestly, if we produce another generation of

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disciples who are focused on the biggest house, biggest car and remaining as comfortable as they can, we have failed. Developing leaders is the only thing I can see we can do to change the course we are currently on. Our student ministries must ask something of students. They should not cater to their youth group’s likes or dislikes, but should challenge students to lead now as the church to their generation. God has a plan to change the world…it’s your students.

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PART 2

| Developing Student Leaders

THE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT MODEL Many people will talk about the importance of leadership, but few will actually teach it. I have created a model that effectively teaches students to be leaders based on how I think leaders develop. When developing leaders, four key points must be understood: 1 | Students must learn a set of leadership principles. 2 | Students must apply these principles to real leadership experiences. 3 | These experiences must be challenging. 4 | Evaluation is the key that brings the process together. At first glance this model may seem confusing, but it is actually quite easy to understand and put into practice. When looking at the model, you’ll notice three different circles holding the model together. These three circles all have a unique place in the model and characterize a different component of leadership development. The first, or outside circle, represents the student’s role in developing as a leader. The second, or middle circle represents the teacher or adult’s role in the development process. The third, or inner most circle represents the desired outcome for the whole process.

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LEADERSHIP LEARNED: Leadership starts with learning leadership principles The first component of the leadership model is Leadership Learned. Students can and will learn leadership if we teach them. To that end, LeaderTreks has developed ten leadership principles which we think are key to developing leaders. Focus Precedes Success Leaders must be focused to be successful. This principle addresses maturity as a leader and as a believer. The question we ask students is, “what seven things do you want to do every day?” Burden + Passion + Vision = Mission Leaders know their mission in life. They have been through this process and live their life with a goal in mind. Students need to identify their mission to help them make future decisions. The Value of Risk Taking The ability to take risks is a key to being a leader. Taking risks can lead to failure, but failure leads to success. Students who understand this don’t allow their fear to keep them from taking risks. Chart the Course Being able to make the plans that allow you to reach your goals is an important ingredient to leadership. We want students to learn the value of making and following through on their plans. Navigating Obstacles Every leader will face obstacles as they lead. Navigation is the ability to foresee obstacles and make the changes necessary to overcome them. Student leaders need to think on their feet as they lead. Intentional Communication Leaders understand their words are very powerful. They incorporate both praise and criticism in effective ways. The mark of a good student leader is one who uses their words wisely. Conflict Resolution Conflict is a constant struggle for leaders. Resolving conflict is an important leadership skill. We teach students not only to resolve conflict, but to prevent it when possible. Never Underestimate a Champion Teams need leaders who are champions. People follow a champion. Student leaders who give their all become champions for their team.

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Finish Strong Leaders see projects through to the end. Many students struggle with the ability to stay with a mission until it is completed, so when a leader finishes strong, it stands out. Leader of Leaders Leaders create leaders. True leaders are marked by the people theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve developed, not the projects theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done. Students who learn this lesson become powerful leaders. These ten principles on their own are not enough. The teacher must be willing to model these principles for the students at all times. Students are only willing to put these principles into practice if they see them lived out by their leaders consistently. If leadership is taught and modeled, the students will learn the principles and be able to live them out.

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LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCED: Ownership increases through experiences lived out Have you ever read an instructional manual before? You know, a book that teaches you a skill or a procedure that will help you achieve success in an area of your life. Maybe it was for setting up your TV; or learning how to throw a curveball; or maybe it was for how to build a deck in your backyard. The purpose of instructional manuals and Do-it-Yourself books are to help you gain knowledge and then put that knowledge into action. It would not make sense if someone were to read a book on how to build a deck and then be satisfied with their new found knowledge just by itself. The natural outpouring of this new knowledge is putting it into use. So it is with leadership principles. Every student who learns leadership principles must be given experiences to live out their new found knowledge. The learning of leadership principles is not enough for a student to become a leader. They must put the principles into action. When principles are combined with an experience, transformational leadership will occur.

LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES + LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCES = TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP This philosophy is actually behind every piece of curriculum LeaderTreks produces. For years we have known this and put it into everything we create. Whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a small group study or a leadership assessment, students learn leadership principles and have experiences to cement the principles into their lives. Throughout this process of providing experiences for students to live out leadership, adults come alongside the students, empowering and encouraging them with words of affirmation. When they know adults not only expect a lot from them, but also believe in them, students are more likely to succeed. By using experiences alongside principles, a leadership laboratory is created. Within this laboratory students have the freedom to put their leadership into action. These experiences can vary. They can be team building games, service days, mission trips, or leading different components of the ministry at large. As long as leadership is given to the students and they are empowered by the staff, they will take ownership and willingly lead. When students take ownership of the ministry, amazing things can happen.

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LEADERSHIP CHALLENGED: Challenge and struggle help students succeed Inevitably, when students lead things get messy. Yet, when done inside the safety of the leadership laboratory, it’s totally fine. Students, when put in charge, will face challenges to their leadership. Actually, this can be said of all leaders, no matter what their age. Things don’t always go according to plan and challenges can come from everywhere: the weather, lack of supplies, or a disagreement amongst members of a team. Yet it is from these challenges great leaders emerge. Students today need to fail. They need to know what defeat tastes like so they can truly understand how significant success can be. Too often though, parents are more than willing to jump in and save their students. They do not allow them to fail, which in many cases does not allow them to learn. We must be willing to counteract this mentality. Students must be pushed and put into situations where failure is a possibility, yet at the same time success is possible too. We have the ability to challenge students, with the environment we put them in and the tasks we give them. By challenging students, we put faith in them and allow them to fully take ownership of their success. If they fail, they know it was their mistakes that led to the demise of the project. However if they succeed, the win is theirs and should be celebrated. Throughout the challenges students face, adults should be motivating them to greatness. Adults should use words that are powerful and challenging as they walk alongside students. They should support students while not rescuing them. All students respond well to challenge, but challenge looks different for every student. One should only challenge a student 10% more than their comfort zone allows, and you can really only know this if you know the student. When you know a student well, you can know when enough is enough, and when it’s not enough. Trust is a huge motivating factor in a relationship. If an adult has built trust into the relationship with the student, the student will accept challenge much more willingly. If trust is not present, challenge will not be an effective tool in the leadership developer’s tool kit. If trust is absent, challenge hits a brick wall and is completely ineffective in obtaining its purpose. Challenge Tips We often equate challenge to a physical bar of weariness and sweat, but consider challenging your students spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.

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LEADERSHIP EVALUATED: Evaluating students leads to growth Evaluation can be scary. In fact, it can be downright horrible. Most people dread evaluation like they dread the plague. Whether it’s a test or a personal conversation, being told all the ways you are not cutting it never feels great. And students can relate to this feeling. They are bombarded with evaluation all the time, and it’s usually not the good, growth promoting evaluation that is needed in their lives. As a culture, we’ve failed when it comes to assessment and evaluation. Philosophies behind parenting prove this. American families have gone through multiple transitions in their parenting styles. For much of the Western world, authoritarian parenting used strict forms of discipline to maintain order over children. In many cases, physical punishment was expected when wrong doing occurred with little to no explanation behind the punishment. But this style of parenting, seen by many as overly strict, would often use evaluation simply to tell students and children how wrong they were in their actions and thoughts. In response to this specific parenting style, several new approaches were birthed in homes throughout America during the 1950’s and 1960‘s, including both the absent parenting and the self-esteem movements. Either parents were out of the picture, letting students completely make their own decisions and maintaining no input; or parents sought only to encourage their children, using constant positive reinforcement to teach them right from wrong. Again, taken to the extreme, both these new styles failed to address proper evaluation for kids. As a result of these many parenting styles and cultural rules, students of all ages do not take evaluation well. What we need, as in all things in life, is balance. Evaluation can be an effective tool in teaching students if it is done correctly, and it is so needed. All people, students included, must regularly go through a time of evaluation and assessment so growth occurs. Evaluation brings a learning experience to fruition and makes it complete. We have included evaluation as the final step in our leadership development model because we truly believe in its value. Students must receive evaluation from adult mentors in an effort to bring leadership principles to life. Whether it’s during a specific challenge the student is facing or after the entire experience, adults must facilitate evaluation so students can experience growth. At LeaderTreks, we’ve found the best evaluation combines a celebration of things done well by the students and an assessment of what could be improved upon. A full evaluation is best done shortly after an experience has taken place so the details are still fresh in students’ minds. We regularly use a form of evaluation known as Target Three. Target Three helps students examine their experience

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by first looking at the positives of the experience. The adult gives the students the opportunity to call out everything that went well. Then the group is allowed to celebrate their wins by acknowledging the good that came from the experience. After celebrating the wins, the group identifies all the areas that need improvement based on the experience. After a list is compiled, the group chooses three specific areas they want to improve and then creates very clear and obtainable action steps for each area of improvement. Action steps should be measurable and students should be kept accountable to them. When evaluation is done in this way, students are able to see both the good in what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve accomplished, as well as ways to improve their experience and their leadership for the next time.

Sample evaluation of a youth service day.

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The Most Powerful Tools in the Kingdom Students have the power to change the world, and the truth is they’ve already started. Student led ministries all across the globe are making a difference in their homes, their communities, and their planet. Students are choosing to be leaders now and it is leadership that can’t be ignored. If all the statistics out there are true about the majority of people coming to know Christ before the age of 18, then students really are the most powerful tools in God’s Kingdom. But they need us. They need us to spur them on, to teach them, to build into them, to challenge them, to evaluate them, and to love them. They need us to instill in them God given leadership principles and provide them with opportunities to live them out. They need us to believe in them, even when they fail time and time again. Our faith in them pushes our students to reach for greatness. They need us to sharpen them as iron sharpens iron, building them into the world changers they can be. Students are the most powerful tools in God’s Kingdom, and we are the sharpeners.

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DOUG FRANKLIN loves youth ministry and the people who serve in it. Doug was a full time youth pastor for 12 years and throughout that time grew passionate about student leadership development. In 1994 Doug founded LeaderTreks to help youth workers develop their students into leaders. Since then LeaderTreks has been developing student leaders through their innovative trips, training, and curriculum. Doug and his wife Angie live in West Chicago, IL where they both serve at LeaderTreks and continue to partner with youth workers from all over the world.

Partnering with youth workers to develop students into leaders. It’s our belief that the church is one generation away from a leadership void and if we don’t intentionally develop leaders, the church will struggle. To that end, we developed the LeaderTreks model for leadership development. We apply this model to all the resources and training events we offer. LeaderTreks comes alongside of youth workers providing: • Leadership training events for students • Leadership resources • Leadership driven mission and wilderness trips • Youth Worker Training Check out our website at www.leadertreks.com 877-502-0699

Student Leaders are Church Leaders  

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