Student Leadership Conference

I’m taking a small group of students from our high school ministry to Doug Fields’ Student Leadership Conference this July 5-8 (which if you’re not….you should definitely think about it).  I’ve used several different ways to “recruit” students for this conference.  Hopefully these might be helpful for you as well.

Method 1 – The first year we went to this conference we used it to launch a student leadership team.  We hadn’t done any type of student leadership in our ministry for a couple years.  So, I looked around to see who were the students who were serving and had leadership potential.  Then we sent a letter to this small crew of students inviting them to take part in the conference.  A month or so after the conference we did a full-blown application process to kick off our student leadership “program.”

Method 2 – The next year we did the application process earlier.  We had students apply for leadership in late Spring to then serve the next school year.  We announced it and explained it in our large group settings.  We had students fill out applications and go through an interview process.  Then we basically enfolded the leadership conference as a part of that year’s leadership training.

Method 3 – This year is a little different, but pretty similar to Method 1.  We haven’t done student leadership in a while so we’re back to square one.  I’ve announced it a tiny bit to our ministry, put a blurb in the church bulletin, and did a blog post on our student website.  We’ve painted a picture of the type of student we’re looking for (either serving in ministry this year or interested in serving next year).  Then I’ve asked our adult leaders to suggest students who they think would be good leaders in our ministry and then I’ve sent them a personal invite on either Facebook or email.

We’ll probably again use the Student Leadership Conference as a launching point for next year’s student leaders.  Although my gut is that student leadership in our ministry next year will look much more organic than it will programmed.

How do you recruit student leaders?  Are you taking students to the Student Leadership Conference?

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My Learnings from Bad Customer Service

Nicole and I visited a local condo development today and had a pretty negative experience with the sales agent.  Here are a couple thoughts on what I learned:

Never Say No For Someone Else

From the minute we walked in this sales agent started saying no for us by saying things like: “You know these are condos, not apartments, right?  This place isn’t really designed for kids.  This place is built for lawyers and doctors, etc.”  Seriously, lady?  How do you know I’m not looking for a condo?  Maybe some families think condo living would be fun (even with kids).  Maybe I’m a doctor….and a lawyer.  This made me think of how often we say no for people in the church: “Oh, so-and-so would never want to get involved in our youth ministry.”  Really?  How about asking so-and-so and letting them tell you no, instead of you saying “no” for them before you even ask.

Assumptions are Dangerous

As you can see from what I’ve said, this lady made some quick assumptions about us.  She also made a point to tell us these were LUXURY homes.  Looks can be deceiving though.  And while the reality is we can’t afford even the cheapest unit in this building, she shouldn’t be making the assumption.  I know people with money who might walk in to look at a condo dressed pretty similar to Nicole and I.  And don’t forget that even if I’m not a potential buyer, I might know potential buyers and spread the word about your product after a “wow” experience.  We make assumptions about people in our churches all the time.  We assume students are mature in their faith when they’re really not.  We assume a student may not be ready to take a leadership responsibility when that might actually be the one thing that would propel them forward in their walk with God.

Who are you saying “no” for?  What assumptions are you making about the people God has entrusted to you?


Student Leadership

Had our first student leadership meeting of the year last night at our house. We currently have 11 students in student leadership with at least two more about to jump in. I’m pretty excited about it this year. Here’s what we did last night.

7:15 Dinner
7:45 Alone Time with God
8:00 Expectations/Get to Know You (used this discussion starter ball thing from Group)
8:30 Go over fall calendar
8:45 Talk about book we’ll be reading – Next Generation Leader
8:50 Wrap up

Our student leadership “program” basically consists of gathering students who are serving and pouring into them. We don’t event planning or stuff like that. We do keep them in the loop on stuff that’s coming up, changes coming, why we’re doing it, etc. This helps them be a positive face of our ministry. Nicole and I head this up together and are really excited because this group seems to be ready to jump into our ministry teams and take them to the next level.