5 Essential Proverbs for Developing Student Leaders

Friends, my apologies for the lack of activity here lately. For the last 2 and a half weeks, my wife, Liz, has been suffering the effects of a spinal fluid leak. The symptoms have been much worse and lasted much longer than we expected. She’s now at about 50% of her normal strength, and making progress everyday. We appreciate your prayers!

This is a post by Chris Thatcher, who guest posts here regularly. Chris is a master at developing student leaders–I’m looking forward to what we learn from him in this series . . . 

I had been a Youth Pastor at my current church for about 2 years.  Our group had grown from 4 to over 55 students weekly in a rough and tumble rural town that is a cross between a John Wayne movie and Hoosiers (for our younger readers, that’s a movie from the 80’s about an underdog rural basketball team). The high school sports schedule ran our town, and any Youth Pastor worth his salt would be mindful of this reality.  Sports camps, team activities, practice schedules, Sunday games, homework, jobs, and school clubs were pulling students in every direction. I had to admit, many of the activities our students were involved in were good things.  Students came and went as their other activities warranted, but meaningful contact that builds relationships was scarce.  Even so, our youth group at church was stable numerically.  Some advisors declared, “Success” or “Stay the course”! After all, we were teaching the Scriptures every week, and seeing glimpses of life.  However, my experience told me something different, and so did my heart. 

Student Leaders

(Photo by kongsvinger at Creative Commons)


The issue was glaring at me, with no immediate solution in sight.  We had a “rotating flock” of over 100 students! How would we nurture committed, reproducing disciples of Christ in an environment like that?  Further, what about our God-given ambition of developing young kingdom minded leaders? Was I supposed to add more to their schedules and hope for the best?  Most of our students were unable to spend enough time together to risk being in small groups or other venues that are primed for discipleship.  We had a solid, mid-sized, rotating youth group inhabiting the same space once a week.  This was our reality.  This was the nature of things in our context.

In this series I will share how we began following a kingdom passion to successfully develop young leaders in a challenging environment. My aim is to be practical and helpful.  I will share 5 “proverbs” I have discovered for developing young kingdom minded teen leaders.  In this series, maybe these proverbs will help you process developing young kingdom minded teen leaders in your reality:

#1 – Set “red letter” goals.

#2 – Call them out and call them to.

#3 – The bad idea might lead to the best idea.

#4 – Adapt before you add.

# 5 – Recognize and reorganize.

I am not writing this series because I have it all figured out.  I do not.  In fact, I would welcome your tips and practices, so we can all learn together (that’s what leaders do).  My students and friends call me “PC”, which is short for Pastor Chris.  Next time, we will unpack “PC Proverb” number 1.

Question – If you wrote a proverb about developing young kingdom minded leaders, what would it be?

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