Re-thinking Middle School Student Leadership

Posted: August 17, 2013 in junior high ministry, middle school ministry, student leadership

In the past twelve months I have had a growing sense that I have not made the school system as big of a priority as it needs to be in middle school ministry. I think the schools are where the biggest battles for our student’s souls are being won and lost. And I’ve always valued the school system and have had incredible respect for teachers, whom I believe are the most under-appreciated people in America. But my admiration never made it farther than a few visits to school Bible studies and FCA programs.

School Rep Meeting

Well, I’ve been following Jesus long enough to know when a “growing sense” is actually a conviction from the Holy Spirit. So I’ve decided to change my lack of action this school year. I’ve always wanted to have a quality middle school student leadership program, but I could never nail down enough responsibility to warrant an actual team. But I may (or may not… we will see in time) have found a solution: School Reps.
School Rep in our LIFT Middle School Ministry is a student who is growing spiritually and knows that God has called them to take big steps towards leadership. This is a student who is not satisfied with the status quo at their school or the media culture that is being shoved on them, along with its flawed worldview. This student genuinely wants the people in their school to know and love Jesus. Simply put, our School Reps are our Outwardly-Focused Student Leadership Team.

Instead of having the student leaders focus internally at our isolated programming, we are challenging and equipping these students to own their school campus and do everything in their power to make Jesus famous. Of course they will lead in our actual program, and they will have specific tasks to accomplish at LIFT. But it can’t stop there. If a student thinks he or she is only a “leader” when they’re at church, we’re not thinking with a Kingdom mindset. We would be stuck in a youth-ministry-subculture mindset. And maybe that’s why so many of our students graduate from their faith when they graduate high school…

We put together an official job description for these School Reps, so they would know what they’re getting themselves into. Here’s a partial list of that document:

You will be responsible for:

  • Participating in a once-per-month School Rep meeting with the student ministries staff and all other School Reps

  • Creating and owning a mission statement for mobilizing the body of Christ at your school

  • Setting 5 goals for the year as a school team and following through on those goals

  • Praying consistently for your school

  • Communicating with your School Rep team and the student ministry staff about school activities, important games, concerts, tragedies, and unique needs of the school that we could meet

  • Taking initiative to make a difference for Christ in your school

    • Possible initiatives may be:

      • Making breakfast for the teachers

      • Creating Bible studies that meet at school

      • Putting together care packages for students who go through tragedies

      • Write letters of encouragement to the administration

      • Donut Day for Freshmen/6th Graders

  • Help support existing Christian groups in your schools (FCA, Bible Study, etc.)

  • Being a good representation of Christ in the way that you act/lead at your schools.

    • Always looking for new opportunities to love like Jesus at your school!

  • Being a Christ-centered Student Leader at LIFT every week!

School Reps

So here we are embarking in unchartered territory. I know this isn’t a brand-new idea. (Are there any new ideas in student ministry anymore?) But I have a holy expectation for this group of students. We had 21 students apply (Yes, they had to apply… Gives them more ownership!) and come to the first vision-casting meeting. They represent every Lexington and Nicholasville-area middle school. Our next goal is to make sure we have at least two reps for each school, so nobody is jumping into this school ministry alone.

What’s going to happen? I have no idea. But I do know this was a God-initiated idea, so I’m hoping and resting in his guidance. It’s time for our students to own their school as their mission field!


  1. CJ Ward says:

    Love the thoughts here,
    you should check out
    Their ministry called collision does exactly what your talking about in schools and they do a stellar job of connecting the teens to churches and serving local church ministries instead of pirating from them.

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