Next-Level Student Leadership Meetings  - Dare 2 Share
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.

Next-Level Student Leadership Meetings 

How to keep, equip, and grow dynamite student leaders



Hot take: In a youth group, a well-equipped, well-discipled, passionate student leadership team will have a much larger reach than will a well-equipped, well-discipled, and passionate youth leader.  

Why? Students reach students. Yes, you as the youth leader still play a monumental role in teenagers’ lives as they come to know Jesus and grow in faith, but strong peer relationships and role models can be even more influential.  

Consequently, one of the most important roles of a youth pastor is to steward relationships with student leaders so they’re primed to make a difference in the Kingdom—and running effective student leadership meetings will help you achieve that goal. Through intentionally designed, well-run meetings, you’ll be able to keep the team, equip the team, and grow the team, so your group can advance the Gospel farther and faster.

A few things to keep in mind as you get started: 

  • Keeping a student leadership team requires regular meetings, guidelines, expectations, and celebrations.  
  • Growing a student leadership team takes focus, perseverance, discernment, and discipleship. 

Meeting Tips 

To start or maintain a group of student leaders, first establish basic guidelines for your meetings, such as:  

  • Choose a consistent time and place to gather.  
  • Meet every 4 to 8 weeks. 
  • Meet for 1.5 to 2.5 hours.  
  • Provide a calendar that has set meeting dates for the year.  
  • Require attendance. 
  • Create a plan if a student is absent. 

Before holding any meeting, I encourage you to have a one-day leader retreat (I typically hold mine prior to school starting). This allows for an extended time of prayer, vision casting, expectations, training, and fellowship. It sets you up for success as you enter your regular meetings.  

Content & Structure 

What should you do at the meetings? It’s taken me years to figure out a formula that works, but I’ve settled on the structure outlined below.  

Activity Time (minutes) 
Prayer 10  
Planning youth group meetings 30  
Collective training 30  
Video-training discussion 20  
Growth, stories, and reflection 10  
Flex time 20 
Homework overview 

Prayer: Pray over your team, your students, your ministry, your community, and the lost. Mix up the method of prayer, but make it the priority because prayer fuels a Gospel Advancing ministry. 

Planning youth group meetings: Plan various roles for an entire month’s worth of youth group gatherings. Brainstorm what each leader will do in youth group, type out instructions, and provide links in the church center services app as needed. This is how the assignments look for our student leaders:  

  • Big-group games – 2 people (include active and inactive game options)  
  • Upfront game – 1 person  
  • Announcements – 1 person 
  • Worship – 1 person (Student worship leader picks 3 songs and leads the group through a praise, confession, and/or yield prayer) 
  • Pause for the Cause – 3 people (includes an explanation of the Gospel and stories) 
  • Intercessory prayer – 1 person 
  • Closing prayer or challenge for the week – 1 person 

Collective training: Unify and equip your leaders. Students already have enough reading with schoolwork, so I build time into the regular meeting to read together. We currently read one chapter of 4 Chair Discipling and then discuss it. You may choose any book for your ministry context, but I recommend starting with Gospelize Your Youth Ministry. 

Video-training discussion: Discuss and share learnings from a video you provided for them to watch before the meeting. Two good sources for videos are Youth Ministry University and RightNow Media

Growth, stories, and reflection: Ask students to share ways they’ve grown as a leader, your group has grown, or the Lord has grown your ministry since you last met. Then reflect on ways you can continue to improve as leaders and as a group. 

Flex time: Use this time for anything else needed (brainstorming, calendaring, event planning, encouragement, reviews, food, fellowship, etc.). 

Homework overview: Assign homework to be completed by the next student leader meeting. For example: 

  • Prepare for their youth group roles (15 minutes). 
  • Watch training videos (15 minutes). 
  • Attend a discipleship meeting or meet with a mentor (60 minutes). 

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