We’ve been looking at funny or interesting search terms people have used to find this blog. Here’s another one I came across a few weeks ago: my youth group leaders are not serious. Once again, you feel that there’s a story behind this…What could this story be?
Considering the way the search term is formulated, both a youth pastor and a student could have written it. Let’s see what we could advise in either case.
From a youth pastor’s perspective
For a youth pastor, it can be a pretty frustrating situation when you see that your youth leaders aren’t doing their ‘job’ the way you would like them to. You have a certain vision for your youth ministry, a certain way you want things to be done, but they don’t get it.
Here, the complaint is fairly specific: the youth group leaders aren’t serious. I’ve seen that happen a couple of times as well, youth leaders who seem to think that their main task is to be funny and to have fun with the students. They don’t want to spend more time on serious things like reading the Bible, discussing matters of faith, or praying for more than ten minutes or so.
And when you confront them with this, they’ll often come up with all kinds of reasons why their approach is the right one. Their students won’t come if all they do is talk about the Bible. Or their group consists of mainly non-Christians and making it too serious will scare the kids away. Or they want to invest in relationships first. Or…whatever.
If your vision for your youth ministry is to be a social club, pretty much like a baseball club or something, this is perfectly fine. But of you want to have an impact on your student’s life, if you want them to really start following Jesus, if you’re about making disciples, you can’t tolerate this kind of leadership.
You have only one choice: to confront these non-serious youth group leaders (lovingly and supported by loads of prayer!) and try to make them see your point. This may take some time and effort and to be honest, I’m not entirely convinced you can really change people’s vision just like that. In which case you have no other choice but to ask them to leave. They may be nice people and really good with the students, but if they don’t support the mission and vision of your youth ministry, they are bad youth ministry volunteers and they need to leave.
From a student’s perspective
If you are a student in a youth group and your complaint is that your youth group leaders aren’t serious, good for you. It means you’re not satisfied with just having fun and playing games, but that you want to learn, to grow, to dig deeper. However, getting your youth leaders to see your point may be a bit of a challenge.
First of all, youth leaders often think that young people want the fun, but not the content. So you may need some convincing arguments to prove them wrong. Maybe you could ask some of the other kids in your youth group how they feel? It’s always better to make a complaint with a bigger group.
Secondly, you have to voice your opinion loud and clear, but lovingly. Tell your youth leaders that you love them and respect them, but that you have an issue with how they lead the group. You may want to write down some examples of what you felt is going wrong and what you want to see happen instead.
Now, your youth leaders may not listen to you. They’d be a fool not to, because really, students wanting to learn is what all youth leaders should want, but what can I say. Some of us youth leaders think we know it all, when actually we don’t have a clue.
If you have told your youth leaders what you’d like to see change and they don’t take it seriously, don’t stop at that. Involve the parents, talk to other youth leaders to get their opinion, make an appointment with the pastor, do whatever is necessary to make a change. You may feel like a rebel, or even a traitor and I can understand that. But your desire to grow is too serious to be ignored; this is what your youth group should be all about. So don’t stop until you get the spiritual food you need.
What do you think is behind this search term? What would you advise to a youth pastor or a student wrestling with this issue?