Student Leadership Basics: Don't grandfather leaders in

One question I'm commonly asked in regard to student leadership teams is, “Are people grandfathered in?” In other words, once someone is on your student leadership team, should they remain on it indefinitely?

My answer is an emphatic “No!”

No one is grandfathered onto my student leadership team, nor is anyone expected to remain on it until they graduate. Instead, my student leaders serve for clearly delineated terms. In my ministry, a “term” on the student leadership team is June through May of the next school year. This allows teens to participate in the training we do over the summer months and serve as a student leader for one academic year.

At the end of that academic year, should they wish to remain on student leadership team for another year, teens must reapply. To do so, they must go through the same application process we use with newbies. They must complete an application (which is actually longer for them than for newbies since I want veteran leaders to reflect upon the time they've already spent on leadership team) and go through our interview process again.

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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.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

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

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Now Available!

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

Based on National Research

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