In the last couple of posts, we’ve been looking at some interesting search terms people used to find my blog. Today we’ll be discussing this one: Why do you want to be a youth leader?
I don’t know why people are searching on this term. Maybe they are a youth leader and now doubt if they made the right choice, if this is what they’re supposed to do. Maybe they’re thinking about becoming a youth leader and aren’t sure about their motivation. Or maybe they’re looking for deeper, spiritual truths about being a youth leader…is it just something you do or do you need a God-given calling of some sort?
Why did I want to be a youth leader?
My youngest sister is almost 11 years younger than I am and when she was a teen, they had a shortage of volunteers. So she basically told the leadership team that my husband and I would become volunteers without really discussing it with us. I’d done some work in the middle school ministry when we lived in the US the year before, but that hadn’t been a big success. Yet we were willing to give it a try so we showed up for the youth night and had such a great time that we kept coming. We ended up basically running the teen ministry because the leader fell ill. That’s how I became a youth leader.
Obviously, there were underlying motives. I discovered that I loved teens and students, that I had a natural connection with them. I loved having them over and the mess they made in our home didn’t really bother me. We also found out that we were good at talking to and with teens. We got God’s message across and we could see that we were making a difference.
That feeling never went away and even though we moved a couple of times since then, we always ended up working with young people. At my last church I made the switch from being a volunteer to coming on staff and even though it was tough, I loved it.
So I guess if I had to say why I want to be a youth leader, it’s because I love God and I love young people and I can see I’m making a difference in what I do. I’m good at this (and I say this with the humility of knowing that without the work of the Holy Spirit, all my work would be in vain!) and I love it, despite the hardship that’s a part of doing youth ministry.
Why do you want to be a youth leader?
If you love God and you love young people, chances are you’ll be good at youth ministry. You just need to find what you want to do. Not everyone is called to be a small group leader or a youth pastor, or to give sermons or to lead the group. You may be called to do pastoral counseling with young people, or to simply open up your home for small groups, or to help organize events. Just experiment to see where you fit in youth ministry.
A love for young people, a desire to help them, to reach them with the Gospel, the will to change the world through this generation, a holy discontent with the problems young people face nowadays, these are all perfectly good motivations for you to become a youth leader. I do believe that God will confirm your ‘calling’ for youth ministry if you just give it a try. He’ll show you if you’re at the right place.
And maybe you’re having doubts if you’re qualified to do youth ministry. In my opinion, there are very few things that disqualify you for working with young people. You don’t need Bible college, you don’t need to be a Christian for 20 years, you don’t need to be young and/or hip and you don’t need to be bald or have a goatee (though statistically there does seem to be a strong relation…for male youth leaders that is.)
What does disqualify you is if you know that young people aren’t safe with you, if they are in any way your weak spot. If that’s the case, then please, please don’t get involved in youth ministry. You’ll end up ruining yourself and many teens with you. Protect yourself and the young people and stay far away from them.
Why did you want to be a youth leader? What would you say to someone who’s asking this question?