Friday, 21 November 2008

Top Ten Tips for Youth Leaders

Tip 9: Old dogs can learn new tricks

One of my pet hates in youth work is that everyone thinks they are an expert. I understand this feeling. When I started in full time youth ministry I knew how to save the world & bring a generation to Christ. 60 months later life is greyer, youth culture is changing more rapidly than Newcastle United’s management & I often find myself with little idea of what I’m doing.

I need training. Not just that training event that I went on in 1991; I need regular training to keep on the ball.

Some benefits of training in youth ministry…
It provides an intentional space to reflect on what you are doing & dream about what you could be doing.
For education about current youth culture & ministry issues.
Developing new practical skills.
Meeting with others experiencing the same frustrations & joys.

Amongst other things, recent training events have helped me to develop communication skills, deepen my understanding of the changing nature of adolescence & realise that our church is not alone in its struggles to minister to teenagers.

It is sheer arrogance and downright stupidity to assume that you don’t need training. Experienced leaders value training & reflection; the best are hungry to learn & grow. Yes I appreciate that it’s not always easy to find the time, but let’s start valuing the importance of training lest we walk blindly into a wall.

So why not commit to going to a training event this year? Meet a youth worker for chat – supply coffee & there’s no stopping them. Get your team together to think, pray & dream. Read a book on youth ministry (anything by Duffy Robbins, Chap Clark or Marv Penner is useful).

If you’re fresh to this game make regular training part of your ministry & you are committing to a lifetime of excellence; if you’re older, go learn a new trick; if you’re involved in training – I salute you!

1 comment:

Ruth E said...

Never mind old dogs learning tricks.... I wish Stewie would learn something new like not to lift my slippers and hide them!