Developing an Effective Youth Leadership Team
Sharon Veltema on how to develop a youth leadership team as one way to involve youth in worship.
Young people who are involved in worship, whether corporate church worship, a youth worship service, or a Christian high school chapel, are developing spiritual leadership abilities. . But youth leaders and worship coordinators are often at a loss for how to involve youth in worship.
In order to involve youth effectively, it is advantageous to develop a leadership team made up of a small group of teen leaders. This leadership team can consist of ten or twelve young people for a large youth group or school setting, or it can be a smaller group of four or five teens. No matter the size, this leadership team can provide valuable insight and feedback to adult youth leaders. , and it can be resourceful in planning worship, generating ideas for worship, and encouraging other teens to be involved in worship.
It’s wise to comprise the spiritual leadership team of teens who are older in the overall group. While age does not necessarily translate to spiritual growth, choosing older teens will enable the group to be more effective in leading the entire student body or youth group. This will also give the younger members something to look forward to – the opportunity to help lead the overall group spiritually.
The best insight into the mind and thinking of a teen comes directly from teens themselves. Developing a spiritual leadership team of young people provides a perfect opportunity for adult youth leaders to interact with these teens on a personal level and receive critical insights that will generally reflect the whole group. A youth leader or teacher can develop group dynamics that will facilitate honesty in the leadership group. As the group grows closer to each other and deeper in faith, an excitement often develops that will translate to the entire youth group or student population.
Developing the Team
The spiritual leadership team can also be instrumental in getting many teens involved in worship. While the adult leader or teacher can and should encourage many young people to be involved in worship, it’s also helpful to have peers encouraging each other to be involved. If possible, have a variety of social groups represented on the spiritual leadership team, so that more of the teen population of the youth group or school will be able to relate to and interact with members of the team.
It is important to provide clear objectives for the leadership team. It is vital to the team’s ability to function well. If the young people who are on the leadership team understand their purpose and are regularly reminded of the team’s purpose, the group will function more effectively. The following list outlines six basic objectives for a spiritual leadership team.
- Promote spiritual growth in the youth group or school
- Learn more about worship and the purpose of worship
- Assist in planning and developing meaningful worship in the youth group, in church, or in the school’s chapel
- Help recruit and work with other teens to lead chapel
- Pray regularly for each other, fellow teens, the community, and the world
- Spend time reading and studying the Bible individually and together
It is equally important to have individual expectations of the team members. Teens who are held to high standards for being on the team will understand the importance of their participation. Expectations can include the following:
- Have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior
- Reveal a lifestyle consistent with their faith
- Demonstrate the ability to work well with others
- Be willing to learn about and plan worship
- Show a desire to grow in faith
Although it is not necessary to lead worship up front, a willingness to lead worship is helpful and can be added to the list of expectations.
When starting a leadership team for the first time, it may be necessary to recruit by approaching young people with the idea of being a part of the team. It’s important to explain what is expected from the spiritual leadership team. It may be helpful to explain to the young person that he or she has shown spiritual maturity and leadership qualities that would benefit the team and also be instrumental in encouraging the spiritual life of their peers in church or school. Encourage the teen to prayerfully consider being a part of the spiritual leadership team. After the leadership team is in place for several years, young people in the school or youth group will have a better understanding of the team and its expectations. It’s also good to have an application process for the committee. Young people who fill out an application will understand the importance of being on the leadership team, and it will help them evaluate whether or not they want to be on the team.
Consider an application process containing the following:
- Give a brief statement about your relationship with the Lord.
- Why do you want to be a spiritual team leader?
- List one or more of your leadership strengths and weaknesses.
- In what areas have you been involved in the church, youth group, or school?
- Are you willing to commit to meeting regularly with the leadership team?
Although the answer to the final question is a simple yes or no, young people who are on the leadership team need to know that it is a commitment and responsibility that should be taken seriously.
After a team is formed, determine how often the group will meet. In a Christian high school, meeting daily is a good way to grow together, learn about worship together, and put together meaningful worship for the school. If daily is not possible, make every effort to meet at least twice during the week. A church youth leadership team should be willing to meet weekly or bi-weekly.
The next step towards an effective spiritual leadership team will be learning to pray together, read the Bible together, understand and learn about worship, brainstorm ideas for worship, and engage in evaluating the objectives of the group. The article “The Leadership Team is Assembled – Now What?” provides ideas for effective group meetings that work toward the team’s objectives.
A leadership team comprised of young people can be a very powerful tool for a youth leader, providing feedback and ideas that are reflective of the entire youth group or school. It is the first step to building a framework in which young people can be a part of worship and have a voice in the worshiping community.
- Developing a youth leadership team helps involve young people in worship.
- The leadership team should have objectives and expectations for those involved.
- An application process can be useful for potential team members.