Balanced churches understand that a multigenerational approach is the most effective way to sustain and grow a church.
Churches need young, old, and everyone in between to maintain a balance of demographics and to draw from the gifts and resources of each group.
For instance, retired members have more financial resources to support the church, while younger members have the energy and creativity to keep your church current.
What Makes An Influential Youth Program?
An influential youth program involves strategy, planning, and support from the church. But it also requires a passionate church youth leader to get it done.
Church youth leadership have a unique role and often carry a heavy burden.
Life is difficult and confusing in today’s society. Kids confide in Christian youth leaders 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 Support Your Church Youth Leadership
1. Create A Job Description
Job descriptions are tools that provide the details for how to be a youth leader in a church.
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, describes youth leader expectations, and clarifies reporting relationships.
This tool also delivers a guide for the employee and helps them to prioritize the sometimes conflicting job responsibilities.
For instance, a church youth leader’s job description may provide specific details that describe how to lead a youth church service.
2. Assign A Spiritual Mentor
Everyone needs a mentor. Youth ministry is complex, and it is beneficial for youth leadership to have someone to confide in.
You can achieve this by assigning a church youth leadership mentor and coach.
A youth leader mentor is someone who understands the unique challenges that are part of working with teenagers. This special coach will also support youth leaders by being a confidential sounding board and sharing personal best practices.
For instance, an experienced mentor can help teach someone new to the role how to be a good youth leader in your church by sharing lessons learned from their own experience.
3. Encourage Professional Development
Youth ministry is 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 education opportunities in the area of Christian youth leadership training.
Youth leadership training can be as simple as providing your team with youth leadership books or signing them up for an annual leadership conference.
Show your youth leader support by investing in continuing education.
4. Invest In The Youth Program
An effective youth program 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.
For instance, help the youth leader learn budgeting skills by allowing them to go through a formal budgeting process. This experience will teach the youth leader the valuable lesson of limited resources and the art of responsible stewardship of church resources.
5. Designate Youth Space
Teens need a space to call their own. If it is 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 is an inviting atmosphere that meets their unique interests and needs.
Teach youth to be good stewards of their designated space by setting expectations for the maintenance and care of the rooms and equipment.
For instance, develop youth teams that help keep the rooms, storage closets, and equipment organized.
6. Define A Youth 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.
For instance, work with the youth leader and articulate what the youth group will look like in 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years from now.
Next, help him create a detailed plan to make it happen.
Keep in mind that this plan will require budget dollars.
For instance, if part of the plan is to develop youth worship leaders, make sure the youth department has the budget dollars to purchase the necessary equipment for a worship band.
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.
There is a shocking number of 1,700 pastors who leave the ministry every month.
The reasons vary from church burnout to stress to the feeling of inadequacies. These are very real issues that all pastors deal with, and youth leaders are not exempt.
The youth leader needs someone to be aware of this heavy burden and check on him regularly.
Have someone in leadership meet with him regularly to “check his pulse” and see if he needs help, additional training, or simply someone to talk to. Consider adding a sabbatical program to your church benefits.
Don’t make the mistake of losing a great youth leader because the weight of the job took him out!
A Youth Program Is Only As Good As Its Leaders
A vibrant youth program is only as good as the leaders who have responsibility for it. Moreover, the youth leader is only as effective as the support he receives from the church.
Take the time to help guide the youth leader by providing him with the training, resources, and support he needs, and then watch the program grow!