Too many student ministries have leaders who are just filling a need instead of serving in a position based on their giftedness. Student pastors need volunteer leaders. Our job would be nearly impossible if it wasn’t for other adults in the church stepping up to serve our students. However, many student pastors fall into the temptation to recruit leaders and throw them into a position within our ministry where we need a leader instead of placing them in a position they are gifted for. We, yes I’m including myself in this, need to get better at placing our leaders in ministry positions based on their giftedness instead of just where we have a need.
It’s important to understand God has gifted every leader that comes into our ministry in a different way. We will never have a leader that is exactly like the next one. If we constantly throw leaders in positions we need filled we will start to have leaders who are serving, maybe with the right heart and attitude, but in a position they are not gifted. For example, there are some leaders who are great on stage maybe leading a game or even teaching. They do well in front of a large group of students. However, they may be terrible at leading a small group of 5-8 students. It only makes sense that that leader serves where he or she is gifted-on stage, in front of students doing what they do best. It would be a tragedy to waste their gifts by making them lead a small group, which is something they are not gifted for. The opposite is true as well. There many be a leader who is great at leading a discussion and pouring into a small group of students, but freezes up on stage and has no stage presence. Why would we put that person in a role where they do stuff in front of a large group instead of leading a small group?
When potential leaders walk into our office or we meet them at Starbucks to talk about serving in our ministry, our minds must instantly go towards placing them where they are gifted. If not, we will end up placing them where the need is (because let’s face it, we always know where the next need is). We always need more leaders and there are always positions to be filled. However, it would be far better to place a leader where they are gifted and have a few empty positions than place leaders in positions in which they are not gifted for.
There are great tools out there to help leaders understand how they are gifted and how they can best serve in student ministry based on those gifts. There are two resources from LeaderTreks that can help you with this: Sweet Spot and Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts. Both are great tools to use with your leaders so that you place them in positions based on their gifts instead of where there is a need.