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Training Tools

Ministry BY Teenagers
Developing Students with a Passion for Ministry

Dear Youth Pastor,

We're glad that you're serious about becoming a better youth leader, and helping your volunteers become better, as well. Heck, that's why The Source for Youth Ministry exists... Helping Youth Workers Reach Kids!

This training tool will provide you with everything you need to lead your team through an exciting 90 minute training seminar on “identifying, selecting, training, and managing student leaders.” It can be used by any youth worker regardless of ministry size. You and your leaders will gain insights on how to employ the gifts that are wrapped up inside your student body.

Here's what you'll find:
  1. The TRAINING SCRIPT. This is the document you are reading now, and it includes the actual training script you should use while teaching the seminar, a group activity to do with your team, and feedback questions sprinkled throughout that will allow you to customize the session to fit your specialized needs.

    The portions of red text/font are notes for YOU, the PRESENTER.

    Also, this training script matches the Powerpoint perfectly. During the training script, you will see blue text/font (typically it will read "NEXT SLIDE"). There will also be a graphic of the next slide pictured, as well. This is just a signal for you to advance the Powerpoint so that what you are "teaching" is also what you are "showing."

    Got it? Good!

  2. The PowerPoint. This is a professional slideshow presentation (that mirrors the script from start to finish) that you can use in conjunction with the training script below. Although using the Powerpoint is "optional," it will allow you to "show" your group the major points outlined in this training script.

    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE POWERPOINT
Like we said, this is EVERYTHING you need to lead your very own training seminar! We even give you the order you can present this in for maximum effect! We want to provide you with these tools for a couple of reasons. First, this is life-changing information. If your team is better equipped to reach teenagers with God's love, the Kingdom is blessed!

Secondly, we want to provide YOU with a professional seminar that YOU can lead for YOUR group, making YOU look like the hero. Now, we aren't trying to put you on an ego trip, we just want to offer you the tools that will allow your team to have even greater confidence in you so you can lead them to the edge of their effectiveness and calling in youth ministry. Deal?

To begin your seminar, start your PowerPoint and use the training script below.

THE TRAINING SCRIPT- (What You Say!)

(NOTE TO PRESENTER: START HERE)

FIRST SLIDE


Max Dupree, one of the greatest authors on leadership, says the first job of a leader is to "define reality." Unfortunately, for those of us that are youth ministry leaders, defining the "reality" of most teenagers' faith is a fairly grim task these days. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, let me show you a few "snap shots" of what teenagers believe and how they live.

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According to a recent, in-depth poll by the Associated Press and MTV, 68% of teenagers agreed with the following statement: "I follow my own religious and spiritual beliefs, but I think that other religious beliefs could be true as well."

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Further, research by The Barna Group found that 61% of Christian teenagers believed, "If a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others during their life, they will earn a place in Heaven." Clearly, this shows that many churched teenagers have a politically correct, but flawed, faith.

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It's easy to see how this flawed faith impacts them. When the Barna Group studied young college students who had attended church as high school students, they found that "twentysomethings" were the most likely age group to drop church attendance. In other words, too many kids leave their faith after leaving high school.

That's the "reality" of a Christian teenager these days.

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Now, let me take a second to briefly describe the reality of those who work with teenagers. On top of working a job and managing a home, we pour love into the lives of teenagers who need God and us. But it's a big job! Rarely do we get everything done that's on our list. It seems as though there is too much work in youth ministry for us to do.

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I think these two realities I just outlined, though very different, have a common solution:

An aggressive, strategic, and biblically-based student leadership program.

Think about it! If we had teenagers who were helping us plan Bible studies, who were exposed to God's truth to the point where they could teach it, fewer of them would have a flawed understanding of our faith! And if we gave them the opportunity to lead with us, they would grow accustomed to having a responsibility that would keep them connected to the church...even during their college years.

And on top of that, our lives would be a little easier! If we had students helping us, not only could we do what we are currently doing better, but we could do more!

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If there was ever a time when we could kill two birds with one stone, this is it! But it's gonna take some hard work. So, for the next 90 minutes, we're going to learn how to identify, select, train, and manage a group of student leaders who can help us make an impact on the world for the Kingdom of God.

Here we go!

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STEP #1: IDENTIFY POTENTIAL STUDENT LEADERS

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It's sad but true, so let's go ahead and face facts: not every student in our ministry is a leader. With that being said, our first task in developing a team of student leaders is to identify teenagers who are fit for the task. Although this is a big job, we can take a lesson from Jesus on how to do it.

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Basically, Jesus had three kinds of followers in His ministry from which to pick leaders. There were the "multitudes," the "followers," and the "disciples."

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Multitudes - When Jesus met peoples' needs physically, spiritually, or even supernaturally, word got out, and the result was huge crowds, like in Luke 9:11. Some were in the multitude because of what Jesus had done for them, some were there for a free meal, and some were there to spy on Him!

We also have our "multitudes." True, it may not number in the thousands like Christ's, but we have students who come to our ministry for many different reasons, some good and some bad. This group is probably not the group we will pull many student leaders from, but we need to be aware of it, nonetheless.

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Followers - These folks were the ones who loved Him and believed in Him, and unlike the multitudes, were willing to follow Him wherever He went, hence their title (see Luke 8:1-3). Oftentimes we forget that Jesus had more helpers than just the twelve disciples. There were women and former blind men in this group. Heck, there were even former dead people who were followers!

We have students in our youth ministry that are like this group. They have an interest in growing their faith and they're willing to order their lives accordingly. Potential student leaders definitely exist in this group.

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Disciples - And finally, Jesus had the Twelve. This was the group of hardcore men that made continual sacrifices to be with Jesus, aid Him in ministry, and carry it on in His absence. (They're listed in Luke 6:12-16.) He recognized them to be so important to His work that He called them to join Him in His ministry, on a day-to-day basis.

We have students in our ministry that are a lot like Jesus' Twelve. These kids might be the ones who hang around us all the time, or are already doing something in our ministry, and maybe show a desire to serve and lead even more.

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Don't make the mistake of thinking that the word student leader insinuates "outgoing" or "extraverted." Our potential student leaders might be the quiet kids who can use their gifts for behind-the-scenes tasks. Introverted or extraverted, these students are ready to discover and develop their spiritual gifts so they can be used by God to reach and serve others. We should be able to snag most, if not all, of these teenagers for our student leadership team.

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Feedback: I'm sure that you've been thinking about potential student leaders while I was describing these groups to you. Let's take a moment and discuss some students we think may be future leaders, and why.

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STEP #2: SELECTING STUDENT LEADERS
Knowing where to look and what to look for is only the first step in our process of identifying potential student leaders. We still have to actually choose them.

We're not qualified to choose leaders like Jesus did; if we're honest, we tend to make the same mistake that Samuel initially made thousands of years ago when he was tasked with choosing a king for Israel. Samuel wasn't looking for the same kind of person that God was looking for, so God had to remind him of this truth:

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The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7)
Jesus knows people's hearts; we don't. We need some help when it comes to making a final decision on who becomes a student leader, and that help will come in the form of an application process.

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Invite Teenagers to Apply
We'll begin by announcing the student leadership program and providing some basic information about the opportunity to serve as a student leader. In addition to advertising the student leadership opportunities to the masses, we will also personally invite students we see as potential leaders. Often youth workers think that postcards, flyers and generic announcements will suffice. We don't want to make that mistake when it comes to building our student leadership team. We are going to make sure we personally invite the students we think would make great student leaders. Some of them will not apply if they are not asked. We don't want to accidentally skip over the teenagers who may not think they're good enough to serve. Our "invitation" might mean the world to them!

Careful now. We aren't inviting kids to become student leaders-we are inviting them to "apply." This might be as simple as walking up to one of our mature kids after a Bible study and saying, "Morgan, you've been really growing a lot in this past year. You should apply to be on the student leadership team. I think you'd make a great student leader."

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Application Process
Let's take a closer look at this application process.

NOTE TO PRESENTER: Have the following four forms ready to pass out, or have them already handed out at this point. (You will need: "Student Leadership Application," "My Commitment," "Ministry Area Choices," and "Will You Be My Mentor?") These forms are not THE ONLY WAY to identify and select student leaders. They have served us well over the years, and hopefully you can make use of them, too. Feel free to use them in whatever way best meets your needs. If you need to augment them a bit, by all means, do that, too!

Take a look at the application forms I've put together. You will notice there are four separate documents in the packet.

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1. The first is a simple "Student Leadership Application." This form just collects simple contact information, but also asks the student to describe their spiritual life a bit. Its main job is to let us know that a particular student is interested in ministry leadership.

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2. The second form is what I call the "My Commitment" document. It's a lot like a job description in that it lists the commitments that all student leaders will be responsible for keeping. Each student leader is required to sign-off on this commitment.

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3. Next is the "Ministry Area Choices" page. This is a detailed list of the ways our students can lead in our youth ministry. There is also a place on this form where a student can "write-in" a position that we currently do not offer. If they want to bring something totally new to our youth ministry, this will give them an opportunity to describe it.

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4. Finally, there is a "Will You Be My Mentor?" form. It outlines the mandatory partnership every student leader must have with an adult leader for one-on-one personal development. Even our greatest, strongest, and brightest teenagers NEED a godly influence on their lives. Using this tool will help us give our students that.

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Feedback: Let's take a second to look these forms over to see how well they fit our needs. Do they need to be added to, subtracted from, or changed in any way?

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Interviews
Students must turn in an application form if seeking a leadership position within our youth ministry, but that doesn't secure them a position. We will also have a group of adult leaders interview the students individually and make sure they meet all our requirements.

The interviews are the final screening. If they meet all the requirements, then we will welcome them to our student leadership team. Usually, over 90% of the kids that make it to the interview stage will become student leaders.

When the dust settles from the application and interview process, we will have a group of students that have been prayerfully chosen to help us lead and grow our ministry. But they will be raw, so before we can use them very effectively, we will have to train them.

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STEP #3: TRAINING THE CHOSEN STUDENT LEADERS
At this point, we'll have our student leaders in place. Before they are ready to lead, we will have to train them to be a blessing to others. Here's how we'll do it.

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We'll start with a leadership retreat exclusively for student leaders and our adult volunteers. At the leadership retreat, we will:

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1. Lay the groundwork for what it means to be a leader. The temptation will be to try to immediately train our students to plan good programs, lead fun games and run fantastic activities and events. After all, some youth ministry venues use these tools, and these can be important skills for our students to develop. But from the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus taught His disciples the basics about living a godly life. So will we! We must FIRST teach our student leaders that their most important act of leadership is obediently following Jesus, day in and day out.

NOTE TO PRESENTER: You may want to decide what training you will be taking your student leaders through. You can use evangelism training from Dare2Share.org which offers Gospel Journey DVD sets, or you can bring in TRAINERS to do a training weekend with your team. Or... you might have your own training in mind. Give your team an idea of what this training might look like.

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2. Establish goals for the year. The leadership retreat will be a great place to set goals for the upcoming year. Since we will have just spent some time talking about relying on God and knowing Him better, we will be spend some time trying to discern what it is we think He wants us to be focused on in the coming months.

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3. Form ministry teams where applicable. The retreat will also provide students with the opportunity to make final decisions about where and how they want to serve in our ministry. Here are a few of the possible positions in which our students could serve:

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Teaching Team - lead Bible studies and small groups
Drama Team - produce skits & dramas
Worship Team - sing/play in worship band
Follow Up Team - contact new students and/or new Christians each week
Tech Team - sound & lights & video
Office Support Team - assist in the administration of the youth ministry
Marketing Team - design and produce paper and digital forms of advertising
Evangelism Team - devise and lead opportunities to share our faith
Greeter Team - welcome all students to youth ministry programs/events
Prayer Team - frequent, confidential prayer for the ministry and students
Food/Snack Team - duh!
Game Team - develop and lead fun activities for the group

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Feedback: What are some other areas of potential student leadership within our youth ministry?

Obviously, we want to make sure we match the right student with the right position. During the application process, they checked off areas of interest, but during our focused time of training at the leadership retreat, we will help them firmly decide where they fit into our student leadership team. We must do all we can to get students in the right positions.

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While giving our student leaders a spiritual gifts test is one way we can do this (and there are plenty available online we can search through), nothing - absolutely nothing! - is better than a one-on-one conversation with our students where we talk with them about their strengths and gifts.

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4. Build unity on our overall team. During the retreat, we will also be building teamwork within specific groups, like the drama team, for example. But we must also spend some time developing unity across the board. Even though we may have students on six different teams with six different purposes (this number is arbitrary- we may have more or less teams than this), they are all still on ONE team...our youth ministry! We will incorporate several team building exercises as a part of the retreat that are both fun and challenging. But most importantly, they will strengthen the bond between all of us as servants.

NOTE TO PRESENTER: You can find tons of great Team Builders on our webpage by clicking here. Check it out, choose three or four, familiarize yourself with them to the point that you can briefly describe them at this point in the training session.

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GROUP ACTIVITY: This may be a great opportunity to do a team builder with your group. Check out Blind Square for a simple but FUN Team Builder. Just follow the directions given in the description.

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5. Practice what we've learned by doing a service project. It's always a good idea to "practice," so we will build a service project into our leadership retreat. This will further solidify us as a cohesive team. This service project will provide us with a great way to make sure our students have "servant hearts," observe teamwork skills that have been developed (or need to be developed further), and work out any kinks before coming back to lead in our youth ministry.

When the leadership retreat is over, we will be ready to bring our students back to our youth ministry, ready to make an impact.

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STEP #4: MANAGING OUR TEAM OF STUDENT LEADERS
We can - and should - assume that we will have a solid launch at our "practice" service project at the leadership retreat. But we will want to be proactive in protecting the good start which we achieved. Doing this will require a multi-faceted approach, and here is what it will look like.

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Leadership meetings - Student leaders will be expected to attend, report, and participate in leadership meetings with our adult leaders. If a person is a leader in our youth ministry, they must be at these meetings. We absolutely MUST have regular face-to-face time with each other as leaders.

NOTE TO PRESENTER: We strongly suggest that these leadership meetings be monthly. Most volunteers can make that kind of commitment on top of their service, plus, anything past a month's time usually means having to cram lots into the meetings. Choose a frequency that fits your needs best, and then make sure these meetings are purposeful, engaging, and productive, and you can't go wrong.

These meetings will be instrumental to our leadership strategy. They will refresh, challenge, and further equip our students to lead in ministry. There are so many powerful principles and tools we can teach students, but we will take a balanced approach, and use our time wisely at these meetings. We'll allow time for students to get to know each other even better, spend time praying together and encouraging one another, and then have small bite-sized training activities that students can pull from and use in their ministry teams. These meetings will also give us a time to report progress on individual projects that various teams may be working on, and also make plans for the entire youth ministry together.

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Feedback: What components need to be a part of our leadership meetings? For example, devotions, training, etc.

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Communication - Solid communication will be the key to our student leadership program's effectiveness. Just recognize there is so much that needs to be communicated to our student leaders...and it's not always easy to communicate with a teenager, period. Use whatever form of communication they prefer, and do it often! This gives us a great excuse to get valuable "one-on-one" time with our students.

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Feedback - We also need to give feedback to our students who are leading in ministry. We should NEVER miss an opportunity to offer a word of encouragement to our student leaders who did a great job on something. Likewise, we should NEVER miss the opportunity to lovingly talk about why a goal wasn't met. Whatever you do, DON'T wait to be asked for feedback. As tactfully as you can, give it often. And don't forget to receive feedback, too!

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Handling Problems - I don't think any of us are so naïve we think there will be zero problems down the road. We need to formulate a game plan for dealing with them, now. When they arise, we will need to handle problems quickly and gently. We can't just jump in on the "big stuff" our student leaders mess up; we must lovingly address each and every incident, including the "little stuff." That way, they are given direction which will hopefully prevent them from messing up "any stuff" in the future. Let's face it; we'll have invested too much into these student leaders to lose them over junk that we could help them avoid.

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Feedback: How should we respond if a student is doing a great job around our ministry, but we keep getting terrible reports on her/him from home or school?

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CONCLUSION
If we take our role as adult leaders in youth ministry seriously, we can do so much to help guide students into roles of leadership for themselves. Our efforts to build a team of student leaders will go a long way towards helping students forge their very own faith, thus stemming the tide on current trends of teenagers' lukewarm faith.

But having a student leadership team in place will also give us some much needed help in our youth ministry. There are so many things they can do better than us, like reach their friend with the Gospel. We might as well tap into them as a resource God has entrusted to us.

I think we have a plan established that we can be excited about, but also quickly and easily put into action. Let's begin to pray very specifically for our students and how God will use them to do His work right here in our midst.

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Close in prayer.

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Comments on this post

   David R Smith         9/19/2012 12:55:16 PM

Peggy, thanks for the encouragement about the book. I’m glad that Jonathan and I were able to help you. Second, as it relates to your question, we address that touchy subject on page 61 in some general ways. I’ll try to provide some additional, practical pointers on that. Here they are in no particular order: • Remind them of God’s love for them, your love for them, and their potential. • Remind them that “no” right now doesn’t mean “no” forever. • Tell them EXACTLY why you’re taking a pass on them. It will not be helpful to them at all if you avoid a sin in their life or a bad habit or something else that’s destructive. • Tell them EXACTLY what they need to work on to move your adult team from a “no” to a “yes” concerning them. • Give them access to ALL the help they need to move from A to B (which should probably include a mentoring adult). Obviously, you need to have this conversation in person. This is certainly not the kind of info a kid wants to receive via text message or email. If you need more thoughts about this, please do not hesitate to email me: David@DavidRSmith.org David

   Peggy Everson         9/18/2012 9:31:22 AM

This is a wonderful resource. Thank you so much for offering it. A question regarding the selection process - how do you tell the teens that didn't make it to the team?

   Johnson         7/19/2012 8:23:15 AM

Wow what an impressive resource material is must for all for all youth leaders and mentors.This training tools will go a long way to improve my leadership skill.

   KiKi love         11/22/2011 3:50:24 PM

Thank God always for his people who are busy working to ensure a brighter and better future for our churches. This is just what I want thanks much to your team. PRAISES TO GOD.

   Ti Barnhill         8/22/2011 11:33:05 AM

This is exactly what I was looking for. An incredible resource to anyone who is looing to raise up leaders for Christ and who need a little structure to help get started. Thank you so much! Ti














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