Leadership Development: Junior Junior Leaders

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This is a series of posts which outline our leadership funnel and how we have people enter our leadership community. You can read more about it in general here.

Our most recent addition to our leadership development is the establishment of junior junior leaders. This was the vision of our veteran Wyldlife leaders who saw a need and opportunity for 8th graders to provide leadership for the club. Also, one underlying strategy is that leadership, in all forms, is a laboratory for faith and discipleship. All levels of our leadership development are seen as opportunities to grow, almost like campaigners-plus, if that makes sense.

What does a Junior Junior Leader Do?

We are still learning how to involve junior junior leaders, but here are a few things we do:

1. Be at every club and campaigners

2. Come 45 minutes early to club. This allows them to be a part of the team meeting, prep, and the team prayer. They are not invited to the other team meetings that require more time, more focus, and sometimes frank discussion about the students.

3. Some have a role up front in club. This could be a part in a skit, helping with announcements, or for the right kid, giving their testimony to their friends.

4. They are expected to get the word out at school about club and campaigners.

5. They are expected to abide by the leadership commitments for their faith, time, and lifestyle. (See the downloadable file below.)

How do we train Junior Junior Leaders?

First, junior junior leaders are invited. It is not an open invitation to anyone. This is important as it can serve to affirm the student’s budding faith. In all honesty we cast the net pretty wide.

In the past, we have had a one day training for an hour and a half. Another year we met for an hour and a half before club. I did the trainings (I am the Area Director), and I think this was important as it helped them see that it was a special thing and not just something their leaders were doing on their own. Having me there added to it being “official” and gave them a sense of entering something bigger.

I normally talk about what it means to be a Christian (in a way giving another opportunity to come to Christ in case they are still working this out in their life), as well as the incredible influence they have on their friends and people at school. Then I walk through the commitment sheet (see below). I’ve been a WL leader for a lot of years, as well as a speaker at WL camp several times, so I know to keep it fun, interactive, but also not “dumbed down” since many are ready to move beyond that.

What have you learned from having Junior Junior Leaders in your area?

As I mentioned, this is our newest part of our leadership development, we started this three years ago. It is too soon to see how this will really work out, but it has been helpful. It has also helped engage some 8th graders who started to feel “too cool for school” or at least for WL as they approach high school. As with every leadership endeavor, we have seen kids drop off as time moves on, more with this than with our other leadership teams. We also did not do it one year, mostly because it wasn’t right for that particular class of kids, which is magnified in WL since there are less grades. We are learning as we go and I am glad that we are giving students an opportunity to serve Christ and their friends through this program.  

I’m curious, do you have any leadership roles for your Wyldlife students?

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