What to look for in a Student Leader

Finding effective student leaders is extremely helpful in accelerating your ministry. In order to find your key leaders, you will have to make an investment that could include time and money. There are many ways to invest. An example would be gathering a small group of students before school at McDonald’s for several weeks and buying them breakfast. At this gathering, you are looking to identify students who meet the following criteria and are interested in being discipled.

There are two concepts that are helpful in selecting the best leaders.

F.A.T. Students are the Best!

The most important qualities you should be looking for in students are faithful, available, and teachable. We call this FAT!


Faithful students are willing to be discipled by others and prioritize their walk with Jesus. This student wants to grow in their faith and is willing to make sacrifices to do so. They do not just show up, they follow through with what they say they will do. When you teach them something, they are willing to adjust their lives to live it out.


A student is available if they show up for appointments and meetings as much as possible and come through on their commitments. You may have a student who is really busy. An example is having a band student that has many obligations, but still shows up. There are some great Christian leadership students out there who are just too busy to show up. They may be extremely sharp students, but if they are never around, they might not make the best student leaders.


Teachable students are open to feedback and correction. They want to learn and are open to change. They respond to what they hear and are willing to grow.

These are some traits we look for in student leaders, but what do we ask them to do as leaders?

The most important qualities you should be looking for in students are faithful, available, and teachable.

W.A.L.R.U.S. Explains What Student Leaders Do

Walrus is an acronym for things into which you want your students to grow. Some students may already do a few of these things, but the hope is that you will challenge them to do the other things and observe which students rise to the challenge.

  • Walk with God – Seek to grow in your faith
  • Attend – Show up to meetings and events
  • Love Others – be outward-focused at gatherings and be willing to initiate with others
  • Represent Jesus – exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and seek to grow in your dependence on God
  • Use Your Gifts – Pick a role that will help the ministry be better
  • Share Your Faith – Be willing to share the gospel or your personal testimony with others

When looking for student leaders who are FAT and will WALRUS, it is normal they would not exhibit all of these traits right away. Part of being faithful, teachable, and available is that they would be willing to grow in these qualities and you would see them eventually become a WALRUS student leader.

It is Never Perfect

The acronyms above are helpful, but not perfect. They do not account for how some students are just such dynamic leaders that you may want them as leaders even if they are not available as much as you would like or how some people might have all these qualities, but would turn others off to the ministry. Every group is different and every leader has to make decisions as they build their team, but F.A.T. W.A.L.R.U.S. is a helpful tool to help you identify and communicate what we are looking for in our student leaders.

Next Step

Identify students in your ministry who have shown to be faithful, available, and teachable. How can you challenge them to greater leadership using the principles found in 5 Ways to develop Student Leaders?

Learn More


Cru Promo Videos

It was once said that “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Well, if that’s true, a video is worth a million. As we talk about Cru with students, administration, donors, volunteers, parents, and others, having a video can sometimes help them get the feel of what we do.

Below you’ll find a few videos that do just that. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, check our YouTube channels at Cru High School and Gotothecampus. If we’ve got it, it’ll be there.

Cru Promo Video – 3 Minute Version

Download this video

Cru Promo Video – 1 Minute Version

Download this video

Cru Promo Video – 1 Minute Version (vertical)

Download this video

Share This Post

More to Explore