Spiritual growth and serving are connected.
Most students who get spiritually stuck need avenues to do something significant. If we as student pastors want to keep moving students in a better direction we must create consistent opportunities for our students to serve.
Over the past few years, there has been a lot of research aimed at why it’s so important for students to serve. The book, Sticky Faith, found that the more students serve and build relationships with younger students, the more likely it is that their faith will stick.
Sociologists of religion have found a correlation between church growth and youth involvement that is consistent across different types of churches. In all these churches, the greater the youth involvement, the greater the church’s growth. Specifically, 58 percent of growing churches said the level of youth involvement was high.
Reggie Joiner asserts that the best way to stimulate faith is to give students an opportunity to have a personal ministry by serving others.
I think it’s clear. Inviting students to serve has many benefits. But how do we begin to figure out how to utilize our high school students to volunteer or serve?
Getting students to serve or volunteer is a step-by-step discovery process, not a program. Here are three simple steps to start exploring how your students can be utilized in your church or community:
- Students must know what servant leadership is. Most students want to lead but most don’t know what it means to be a servant leader. Students with a servant’s heart who say, “I will do whatever is needed, whenever it’s needed, wherever I can.” Servant leaders bless the world by being the best they can be for the sake of others. A typical profile for a servant high school leader would be: humility, spiritual growth, genuine and transparent, warm and welcoming, has a good reputation with peers. In the XP3 library, there are a ton of series that aim at capturing this servant leadership mindset so students not only love God but others.
- Students must know themselves. For a student to volunteer they need to know how God has wired them so they know how they can help. A student can ask: What talents and skills do I have that can used to help others? Personality and spiritual gift assessments are great tools for students to explore what gifts and strengths God has put in them that they can use. Here are a few really great personality and spiritual gift assessment you can give your student leaders:
Strengths Finder – cost $9.99
DISC Personality Test – Free
Enneagram Test – Free
Meyers/Briggs – Kiersey Temperment Test – Free
Sacred Pathways – Free
Youth Spiritual Gift test – Free
Spiritual Assessment by DYM – $5.00
SHAPE assessment – Free
- Students must know their role: Now it is time to plug your students into a place to serve. Find areas in your church or community where they can serve with other adults. Never let a student lead by him/herself. Give them a role and another adult who can mentor them. Here are a few ideas on where you could utilize your student leaders:
As leaders, it’s our job to give opportunities to help students discover how God made them so they know who they are and what they can do. To utilize students to serve means students know (1) they are uniquely made by God and (2) God wants to use them in unique ways to help others.