Here is my brainstorming for our Pathways to a Healthy Church day long workshop on student leadership.
It is important to me to teach in ways that make abstract concepts concrete and to teach in ways that allows students to experience all concepts that we are teaching. From my time in public theatre education, I am very partial to creative dramatics and “games,” activities that take a group of people into situations in which they have a goal and must use their new learning to achieve it together.
As far as student leaders are concerned, I have a few topics that are important to me.
1. team building
we are going to be together all day during the student leadership academy. I think it is very important that we connect with each other in as many ways possible as soon as possible. This will include things like introductions, check-ins, stories, etc. Similarly, this would be the ideal time to pull in some of our goal-oriented games. I have used the “ball-toss game” frequently to illustrate how we work together to acheive a common goal. It is also a great way to learn names. It works like this.
There is a circle. We have many different kinds of playground balls. One person starts. He/she chooses a person, makes eye-contact with that person, and tosses them the ball. This continues until everyone has had the ball and a sequence is established. Once we can get through this sequence, we add in more balls. The goal being that we get as many balls in the air at one time in a sequence with out dropping one. If we drop one, we start again. This causes us to support each other to complete the goal. There are no individuals when there is a common goal. There are other games like this that are great introductions that build bonds between strangers.
2. Passing Leadership
It is also important, especially in a team situation, for students to realize when they need to assume leadership and when they need to allow themselves to be lead. This is essential for a collaborative team. Again, there are great “hands-on” activities to help this move along.
3. Spiritual Development
It is very important to me that student leaders are developing spiritually. We should break the ice and get students talking to each other about their spiritual development and issues? Where have they encountered God recently? How have they grown? What are their spiritual disciplines? How do they take time out from this busy world to commune with God? Students need to be comfortable talking to other student leaders about their spirituality. Students also need to be comfortable praying with each other. We could arrange various prayer groups through out the day. Each student will be assigned a certain number of other students that they pray with through out the academy. How do they worship? I am more interested in what their habits are, not so much about their style. We should experience worship together–maybe come contemplative experiences and music (I know Josh and I rule DMB style on the guitar).
I would love to split the students into smaller groups and give them a problem to solve together. It could be to plan a new youth-ministry event or to collaboratively address a problem in the ministry. This is a great way to “role-play” and learn collaborative, leadership, and other skills through practical means.
I love Josh B.’s scripture choices here. I wonder how we can teach this without just talking about it. We can do various exercises in the scriptures–that would be amazing. I also wonder how we can practice it during the academy. Josh?
6. Conflict Management
How student leaders deal with their emotions during conflict and how they help to resolve conflict is an important part of the Christian witness of the youth ministry. Maybe role play? Maybe talk through/work through hypothetical situations?
Does a student leader understand the values of ministry? Particularly of their congregation? What is important to each student? How do they view their role? What equals a successful youth ministry and student leadership team? How do they communicate to their youth leaders? How do we approach this concept?