Creating an influential youth program involves strategy, planning and support from the church. And, requires passionate youth leadership to get it done.
Youth directors have a unique role and often carry a heavy burden.
Kids confide in them about many of life’s issues and challenges.
This constant weight can discourage youth leaders – if they do not have the support they need.
Caring for these important leaders is crucial to sustaining and growing a vibrant youth program.
7 Ways You Can Help Your Youth Director
1. Create a Job Description
I am always amazed at the number of people who work in a job without a written job description.
A detailed job description provides specifics about job responsibilities, clarifies job expectations and explains reporting relationships.
This tool also delivers a guide for the employee and helps them to prioritize the sometimes conflicting job responsibilities.
2. Assign a Spiritual Mentor
Everyone needs a mentor. Youth ministry is complex and it is beneficial for the youth director to have someone he can confide in. You can achieve this by assigning a mentor and coach.
Precisely, someone who understands the unique challenges that are part of working with teenagers and someone who will support them by being a confidential sounding board and sharing personal best practices.
3. Encourage Professional Development
Youth ministry is very multifaceted and requires many skills – teaching the Word, facilitating the meeting process, dealing with pastoral issues, managing volunteers and responding to demanding parents.
Each of which requires training and experience. Invest in your youth director by providing him with continuing educational opportunities.
Whether that is access to books or an annual conference, investing in continuing education is another way you can show your support.
4. Invest in the Youth Program
An effective youth programs requires resources and funding.
Invest in the program by budgeting dollars to support the program. Use the youth director to help set a budget that supports strategy and goals.
5. Designate Space for the Youth
Teens need a space to call their own. If it is at all possible, provide the youth group with designated space for their programs, events and meetings.
Allow them to be involved in the planning and design of the space to ensure it meets their unique interests and needs.
6. Define Strategy and Goals
There is a saying, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. This is true for all organizations including the church.
Hopefully your church has a strategic plan and the youth program is part of that plan. Use the church’s strategy and plan to help develop specific goals for the youth program.
Specifically, help the youth director articulate what the youth group will look like in 6 months, 1 year and 5 years from now.
Then have him write a plan to make it happen. This plan will require budget dollars.
7. Consistently Check His Pulse
At the end of the day, all of the training, structure and expectations are great but many ministry leaders have fallen from the weight of the job.
The youth director needs someone to be aware of this and to check on him on a regular basis.
Have someone in leadership meet with him on a regular basis to “check his pulse” and see if he needs help, additional training, or simply someone to talk to.
A vibrant youth program is only as good as the leaders who have responsibility for it. Moreover, the youth director is only as effective as the support he receives from the church.
Take the time to help guide the youth director by providing him with the training, resources and support he needs and then watch the program grow!