For the last two years, I have served in my youth group by being a student leader. I have poured out time, energy and compassion to fellow students, but what I have gotten in return is far more than I could ever give. Serving as a student leader has benefited me in so many ways, and it is an experience I will forever cherish and miss when I go to college in the fall. Soon, it will be time for new student leaders to step in and fill the role. If you are in middle school, it will be your time before you know it. Trust me. Time will start to fly when you get to high school. Hopefully, my experiences as a student leader can encourage and push you to one day serve as a student leader. For adults, hopefully, you too can be inspired by knowing your child is attending a youth group where adults and students alike are pouring into your child on a weekly basis. There are three main reasons I loved being a student leader.
It held me accountable.
In James, The Bible tells us that teachers are held to a higher standard, and I believe the same goes for those who lead in the church. Being a leader means being present. In our student leader program, we have a 80% rule. This means stuadent leaders are expected to miss no more than 3-4 services a month, between Wednesday night service, Sunday mornings and Sunday night small groups. We see that the average student is at ~50% of events/services, so we want our student leaders being held to a higher standard. For the most part, I would like to think I have stayed true to this rule (Scott may argue that with me however), but either way, I have tried to stay consistently present. There have been times when I have wanted to go to ball games or do other things on Wednesday nights, but by being a student leader, I have instead been at church. And it has been so valuable. The best way to be involved is to be present. Church is the best place to be, and being a student leader will push you to be there as much as possible.
It took me out of my comfort zone.
Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This verse is one I have tried to hold onto throughout being a student leader. Student leadership has led me to doing things I would have never thought of doing a few years ago, like teaching a Bible study or talking to people that I am not familiar with. While nervous at first, I am always so glad I do these things once they are done. Without the leadership position, I may have never been challenged to do these things. Now, I take Joshua 1:9 with me everywhere and not just church, so I have been able to take advantage of opportunities that God has provided me.
It made me thankful.
Where to start? There have been so many things about the student leadership role that I am thankful for. For starters, the new friends I have gained that I would never have expected to bond with. I will miss them immensely. Also, for the experience, it has given me anywhere from public speaking to mentoring. It has been such a blessing. Being behind the scenes has also made me grateful to see everything that goes into making a great student ministry. The student leadership role has been one I will be thankful for and remember for the rest of my life. If you are currently in a youth group, I pray that you will talk to God and consider becoming a student leader. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.