I prefer to do the majority of the live teaching at youth group (as do most youth ministers). During my first few years in youth ministry I would usually only have a guest speaker when I was sick or out of town. Even then, I would just say something like, “Teach whatever you want”…”I trust you”….or my favorite, “let the Spirit lead!” I’ve learned that this may not be the best way to help your guest speakers win (obviously you & your guest speakers should be led by the Spirit at all times…just stay with me). 

Over the last year or so I’ve seen a few of my key leaders grow (and really shine) when I give them the opportunity to preach. 

Here are a few things that we now do in our ministry to help our guest speakers win:

1. Give them a “manuscript” or a very detailed outline. I know this one isn’t going to sit well with a lot of you….and I’m ok with that. What I tell my leaders is to make it your own…just keep the main points & key Scripture the same because that is what we base our small group discussion time on. A manuscript can be really helpful because they can read your stories or illustrations that go along with the main points & Scripture…and this usually triggers a similar story that happened to them…and just like that…they start making the message their own! It’s a beautiful thing. If you’re not big into writing manuscripts or detailed outlines… allow me to introduce you to We use DYM a ton in our ministry.

2. Make it a point to call…before. I usually call my guest speakers 3-5 days before they speak and ask them “How can I help?” I know it seems silly, but you’d be surprised how this simple question has impacted our guest speakers. We’ve worked through tough scripture, illustrations, and even come up with some awesome object lessons on these phone calls.

3. Make it a point to call…after. I do my best to call my guest speakers the day after they speak. Usually I just ask them, “How’d you think it went.” More often than not…you are your own worst critic. Today, I called last night’s guest speaker and asked him this question. He was really tough on himself. The funny thing is…he did an incredible job.

4. Let them teach when you’re NOT sick…or on vacation. It’s a whole lot easier give honest feedback when you’ve actually heard your guest speaker speak. This one might be tough, but my goal is to give up one week every series (usually works out to once a month) and allow my leaders to speak. This will not only help get your leaders used to speaking on a regular basis, but it will also free you from the responsibility of teaching every now and then so you can spend more time with your students during that week! 

5. ENCOURAGE THEM. Maybe you’ve recently taken a Spiritual Gift Test and discovered that you suck at encouragement. I’m sorry to hear that, because you’re guest speakers need to hear how awesome they are (even if they totally bombed that sermon). Don’t forget, some of you actually get paid to teach the Word of God to teenagers…but usually you’re guest speaker isn’t teaching because he (or she) gets paid to…it’s because they love Jesus and like students. SO..that being said..send that encouraging text or tweet and make your guest speakers know how much you appreciate them! It’s also really cool when you do this on stage. Last night, after my guest speaker finished…I took the opportunity to tell our middle schoolers how awesome (and gifted) their adult leaders are!

These are just a few of the ways we are really trying to help our guest speakers win. What are you doing to help your guest speakers win?

Timothy Miller is a youth pastor and DYM resource author. Check out his stuff right here!