Stuff You Can Use: Help! I'm a Student Leader Ch. 2 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 Ch. 2 of Help! I'm a Student Leader:

1. Doug argues “It's the little things that become big acts of service!” (27) Describe a time when you did something small that became a big act of service.

2. According to Doug, “When you help plan an event and are excited to see it happen, the planning doesn't feel like work.” (27) For those who were on Leadership last year, tell us about a time when you felt like this was true.

3. Doug breaks programs down into three parts: The before, during, and after (28). Which is typically your favorite part? Why?

4. Doug asks his leaders to “commit to arriving early to help set up”. (28) As student leaders, when you arrive late or leave immediately after a youth ministry event ends, what are you communicating?

5. “A leader serves even when no one else will help.” (29) What might some examples of this type of service be within our youth ministry?

6. (In 2 groups) “A servant leader tackles the problem head on and cleans it up.” (30) On the sheet of paper in front of you, brainstorm a list of 5-10 problems we might face during our (Insert upcoming event here).
(a) Give your list of problems to the other group. Now, brainstorm how, as a student leader, you might work to clean up that particular problem. Be prepared to share your list with the group.
(b) How would your proposed solutions “diffuse the situation”? (36)

7. According to Doug, “When I see students' dependability in the little things, I know they'll be faithful in the bigger tasks as they come along.” (30) As a student leader, why does doing the little things well matter?

8. (In 2 groups) Group 1: Defend this position: “Occasionally, cliques are positive things.” Group 2: Defend this position: “Cliques are never positive things.” (31) (Give groups time to prepare arguments that support their team's position. Then have them debate one another.) 
(a) According to Doug, “Cliques happen when genuine fellowship turns ugly.” What do you think he means by this?
(b) Complete this sentence: Cliques happen when...
(c) According to Doug, “Few people do anything about cliques.” Do you agree or disagree? Why? 

9. (Two groups: Veteran vs. Newbies) “Many times the student leaders are the source of the clique problems.” (32) Evaluate last year's leadership team. Were the student leaders a source of clique problems? If so, when? How? (Have group's share their responses with one another).

10. To be a clique buster, you have to “commit to separating from each other”. (33) Be honest: What's challenging about this? Why's this important? How can we hold one another accountable to doing this?
(a) To be a clique buster, you have to “commit to being prepared to answer questions about the youth ministry program.” (34) To do this, what's required of you?

11. “Making others feel comfortable is not an easy thing to do because most of the time we focus on our comfort and not on the discomfort of others.” (36) What else prevents us from making people feel comfortable? What would our youth ministry look like if we truly valued the comfort of others above our own?

12. (2 groups, each with a life preserver, sharpie, & youth ministry roster) According to Doug, “your attempt to make a personal connection is like throwing out a relationship life raft.” (35) Look at our youth ministry's roster. In your opinion, who needs a relationship life raft right now? Why? Write down their names on the life preserver. As leaders in our youth ministry, how can you provide these people with a relational life preserver?

13. According to Doug, “you must have a positive attitude when ministry becomes difficult.” (37) In general, do you tend to be more positive or negative? Why? As student leaders, why's it important to remain positive, even during difficult times? How can you acknowledge frustrations while still remaining positive?

Download this as a pdf

Get the Help! I'm a Student Leader discussion questions for the Intro & Ch. 1 here. 

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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