Stuff You Can Use: Help! I'm a Student Leader Intro & Ch. 1 Discussion Questions

This summer, my student leaders & I read and discussed the book, Help! I'm a Student Leader by Doug Fields. Using the questions below, we had some incredibly powerful discussions about leadership and faith. 

Questions about the Intro of Help! I'm a Student Leader:

1. (p. 9) Doug says, “I've watched amazing life changes happen to students who didn't think they were leaders or who didn't understand Christian leadership.” In general, do you think of yourself as a leader? If so, why? If not, what prevents you from thinking of yourself as a leader?

2. (p. 11) Doug makes the bold claim that “leadership isn't about popularity”. Do you agree or disagree with this? Why? How might popularity positively impact someone's ability to lead? Negatively impact it?

3. (p. 11) At the end of the intro, Doug asks you to “write down your current definition of student leadership.” What is your current definition of student leadership? Who or what has influenced your definition?

Questions about Chapter 1 of Help! I'm a Student Leader:

4. (p. 15) Doug argues that “you'll find the primary objective of a biblical leader is to serve.” Do you agree or disagree? Why? How do you think this compares to the primary objective of leaders, in general?

5. Read Matthew 20:25-26. What does it mean to be a servant? Why do you think biblical leadership is so connected to service?

6. (p. 16) According to Doug, “Jesus didn't just speak about serving; he modeled it.” How did Jesus model serving?

7. (p. 16) Doug says, “The greatest act of servanthood was also the greatest act of leadership the world has ever seen.” What was that act of leadership? Do you agree it's the greatest act of leadership the world has ever seen? Why or why not?

8. (p. 17) “Instead of viewing your leadership role as a chance to exert power and voice your opinions, view it as an opportunity to serve.” Why is this important? Does this mean it's wrong for you to voice your opinions? Why or why not? How would our youth ministry change if our leadership team suddenly became a chance for you to exert power? 

9. (p. 18) Doug argues, “Many church-based student leadership programs are populated by the cute, fun, and outgoing kids who win popularity contests within the youth group.” Do you think someone could say that about us? Why or why not? Why might a student leadership program populated by the cute, fun, and outgoing kids be a bad thing?

10. (p. 19) Doug confesses, “I had a lot of students who wanted to be known as leaders... but not many who wanted to serve as leaders.” Be honest. How important is it to you to be known as a leader? Why? In the context of our youth ministry, what might it look like for your to serve as a leader?

11. (p. 21) Doug reminds us that “God used disobedient liars, adulterers, big mouths, and fearful people” as leaders. Look at the list of people Doug names as examples of surprising Biblical leaders. Who else would you add to this list? Why?

12. (p. 21) “Don't be consumed with your past that you lose sight of what God can do with you now and in the future.” To be the leader God is calling you to be, what in your past do you need to let go of? Why? What do you hope God will do with you as a student leader in FLY this year? Why?

13. (p. 21) According to Doug, “The most likely candidate for leadership is the person who submits his life to God humbly, puts the needs of others before his own needs, and has a genuine desire to serve.” What do you think it means to “humbly submit your life to God”? How easy or hard has it been for you to “humbly submit your life to God”?

14. (p. 22) Doug shared the story of how setting up for youth ministry things made his student Taylor “feel ownership for our ministry because he's made and investment with his time, heart, and service.” What does it mean to “feel ownership” of something? Why's it important for you to feel ownership of our youth ministry? What might enable you to feel ownership of our youth ministry?

15. (p. 23) “When you show up at your youth ministry, you make a choice to be a consumer (where you are served by others) or a minister (where you serve others).” Before now, which have you been in our youth ministry? Why? 

16. (p. 24) According to Doug, “God rewards your acts of service.” Do you agree or disagree with this? Why?

Download this discussion as a pdf

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

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