Thursday, 6 November 2008

Top Ten Tips for Youth Leaders

It isn’t easy leading teenagers. Relating to them, understanding their world & nurturing their faith can be a roller coaster ride, so over the next two weeks I want to share my top ten tips for fulfilling this calling. I hope you find something helpful.

Tip 1: First things first

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me.” Jesus

We often start in the wrong place. Who will we get to be a youth leader? Who’s young? Who’s funny? Who’s gullible enough to take on this responsibility?

Yet the Bible’s call is always to put Christ-like character above all other criteria.

Yes we need people who have relational skills, musical talent & teaching abilities; yes we need people who can invent crazy games with marshmallows & shaving cream BUT ultimately listening ears, caring hearts & spiritual passion come from a Christ-centred heart.

Do you want a healthy youth ministry? Well start by taking seriously the power of God in your own spiritual life. All too often I’ve let my team down by overemphasizing ‘how to do the work of God’, at the expense of ‘how to be a person of God’ – so let’s get our priorities right.

Teenagers are lonely & have buried their hurt deep beneath the surface. They need God’s Spirit, but He is not to be found in a programme – He is found in the lives of ordinary believers like you & me.

If you’ve bought into the myth that you need to be funny, cool, busy, creative or whatever. Forget that. What our youth need is for you to be God’s child. So put the lesson plan away, forget the funny video from YouTube, and spend time worshipping the Saviour this week.

And if doing too much ministry is drawing you away from being with the Master… the ministry has to go.

“they were so absorbed in their ‘God projects’ that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road” Romans 9

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