I don’t know when you promote your students into the next grade. It may be right before summer starts so your new students get the “full on” summer ministry experience.

It may be right before school starts so that you can have students really dive into school with their new youth group buddies.

Or you may do it somewhere in the middle.

No matter what time you start your change over, you’re probably like me and notice a big student leadership vacuum during the first few months after the promotion happens.

Maybe your senior class was SUPER involved and heavily led the worship band. Maybe your eighth graders basically ran your tech booth for the middle school ministry, but now they’re high school students and oops, no one is there to run the computer.

This year things went smoother than in years past, so I wanted to take time to think about what led to that and how we can make this magical thing where students immediately step into leadership roles happen each year (or at least give it our best effort).

Give students SPECIFIC jobs.

Katie Edwards said she wanted to make sure everyone in her ministry had a clear, specific, one page job description. I spent some time looking over ours this year. They definitely needed some re-working! 

Make sure your student leaders know EXACTLY what they are supposed to do. When should they show up? What should they do while they serve? How do they help at the end of the ministry time? What does a win look like? 

If you can answer these questions, students will know their job and be able to do it well. This is HUGE for a student who will still be with you the year AFTER you promote. Even though they leaders ahead of them are gone, they know what their role is.

Show students their value.

I really tried this last year to highlight when our students were serving. This helped not only encourage the students who were doing a great job, but also showed students who WEREN’T serving that they could. 

Do this from the stage. Do this with your emails. Show students after they serve how much you appreciate their service. Make a big deal out of it! 

If students see serving as valuable, they’ll look at it as something worth their time.

Celebrate wins. Correct misses.

Whenever something goes right, we don’t hardly celebrate it. I’m trying to change that in our ministry. I want to let students know WHAT they did well and THAT they did well. I want to make a big deal out of things going right! I haven’t been great at this in the past, but I’m working on it.

Also, I really don’t like conflict or rocking the boat. So I really haven’t been great at showing students where they could improve when they “missed” during a service opportunity. Like showing up fifteen minutes late, or not cleaning up after the event.

I want students to know that they got it right and help them when they don’t. This way they can understand that they are doing their job how it needs to be done!

So here are some questions for you as you think about NEXT YEAR’S promotion season. It’s closer than you think!

Who are your leaders now that your leaders have moved up?

Who could be developed?

How can you identify new students to take on new roles?

How can you encourage students who have stepped into the vacuum?

What else could you add?