Start-Up Ideas for New Youth Leaders

Youth Ministry in the local church requires a coordinated effort on the part of the pastoral staff, church board, youth members, parents and youth leadership. To be effective you need to begin with the basics. Here are a few suggestions for those just getting started:

1. Ask yourself why you accepted this leadership position. If it’s for reasons other than wanting to provide a positive role model for kids, to help them experience wholesome fun and a closer walk with Christ, you probably should reconsider.

2. Write out your reasons for accepting the position and ask God to give you strength to create a ministry that will do more than entertain.

3. Read the book Kids Taking Charge by Thom and Joani Schultz, Group Publishers.

4. If there are other adults helping, meet with them to talk about what you’ve learned from reading. Decide on the style of leadership your ministry will take.

5. Make a list of things you feel are important for your youth group.

6. Share these with your youth and invite them to respond with feedback and suggestions.

7. Write out a biblically based mission statement that incorporates what you’ve gleaned from the above sources.

8. Once you’ve done this, bring youth, parents and youth leaders together to make a list of specific goals.

9. Be careful not to spread yourself too thin. Invite parents, youth and other church members to help you fulfill your mission statement.

10. Establish a church-based resource center for youth ministry that youth and leaders alike can access. (See article on Church-Based Resource Centers.)

11. Keep your eyes and ears open to evaluate your effectiveness as you mingle with your youth. Plan quarterly reviews to see if you are meeting objectives and fulfilling your mission statement.

12. Last but not least, pray for continued wisdom and strength. Remember, this is God’s ministry and you are His chosen leader.

Rich DuBose, Director of Church Support Services in the Pacific Union, has served as a local church Youth Pastor.

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