When I started my job, I inherited a student leadership team that was elected through a popularity contest. As a result, the team was one giant clique, interested far more in what they wanted than in what was best for our youth ministry.

After spending most of my first year battling this team, a year later, I overhauled it’s selection process, replacing the popularity contest with a written application. A written application allows all students to have a shot at student leadership, regardless of their popularity. Because it doesn’t demand applicants fight for attention, it also invites different types of leaders to apply (including introverts).

With that in mind, here are ten questions to include on your student leadership team application:

1. What three words would you use to describe where you’re currently at in your faith journey? Why?
2. What have you gained from your experience in our youth ministry thus far? (Spiritually, Relationally, etc.)
3. To you, what does it mean to be a leader?
4. Why do you want to be on the Student Leadership Team?
5. Read Romans 12:3-8. Which of the gifts listed in Romans do you have? Why? How will your specific gifts benefit the leadership team?
6. (For returning leadership team applicants) How did you grow (as a person, but also in terms of your faith) as a result of your experience on this year’s Leadership Team?
7. What’s one way you’d like to grow as a leader in the next year? How would being a part of our Student Leadership Team enable you to do this?
8. As a Student Leader, how would you welcome someone new to our youth ministry? Why’s this important?
9. In what ways is your ability to lead connected to your attendance at our youth ministry?
10. What other activities are you involved in? (Sports, Extracurricular Activities, Jobs, Clubs, etc.) Are you in leadership roles in any of these activities? If so – which and in what capacity? Will any of these cause a scheduling problem for you? If so – explain.

This application is intentionally long. It’s length builds an element of self-selection into the application, weeding out students tempted to pursue leadership for the wrong reasons.

The questions on the application are also intentionally short-answer, designed to help you get to know potential student leaders better. They paint a picture of a student’s faith journey – the most important thing to know about any potential student leader. They give you a sense of both how teachable a student is as well as how much they’re willing to invest in your youth ministry. Finally, such questions serve as a conversation starter. Should you choose to conduct them, you can build upon these questions during student leadership team interviews, which we’ll talk about next week.

In the meantime, tell us, what questions do you include on your student leadership team application?