Many times, stepping into youth ministry can easily make you feel overwhelmed, underqualified, and in over your head.
Identifying key qualities that a youth leader must possess will not only be effective, but will also leave a long-term impact. These five qualities will set you up to be a youth leader worth following.
1. Having Spiritual Sharpness
This generation is looking for leaders who model what they believe before students believe what they say. We must be the standard.
- Be mindful of how you speak, how you interact on social media, and filter the media you take in. The standard you live by is far more important than the words you speak.
- Remember: The disciples walked out their faith. This is what will begin to influence students in the right direction.
- In youth leadership, prayer and fasting is more crucial than ever. It is important for you to have a sensitivity to God’s voice cultivated through the reading of the Word, prayer, and fasting.
2. Being Present
Never underestimate the power of being PRESENT in the life a student.
- This simply means being fully present when you are hanging out in youth environments or at church.
- Here are some examples! : High-fiving on the weekend and taking genuine interest, knowing when they have a big test and asking them about it, or showing up to their games/plays. (This means MORE than you know.)
- Being PRESENT in their lives means PARTNERING with their families.
- We do this by keeping family informed and involved in the church life of their student!
- The key is understanding their family is always going to be more present in their life (whether that is a positive or negative experience).
3. Being Purposeful
It is important to understand that to be present without being purposeful will only produce a peer relationship, but to be present AND purposeful will produce long term impact.
- People will take you seriously when you have something serious to offer them
- Be purposeful by knowing and understanding what a student’s next step is. Bible reading, prayer, devotion, journaling, baptism, etc.
- Help students understand the importance of moving forward in their journey (this is CAUGHT not TAUGHT)
4. Being Consistent
This may sound similar to being present, but you CAN be inconsistently present and hurt a students growth more than help it.
- Do not give up! The toughest students I’ve seen in student ministry have always let their guard down when they knew their youth leader was not going anywhere.
- Never make empty promises that make a connection in the moment but do not play out in the long run.
- Most students are coming from a background where they are used to adults being inconsistent. Our goal is that we would not add fuel to the fire of a generation that battles rejection more than any other generation before it!
- The best consistency you can show as a leader and THE most important thing you can do is consistently point them to JESUS as their source and not you!!
- This means continually challenging them to pursue and hear the voice of God on their own! Point to God’s word.
- Phillipians 4:8 NLT - 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
5. Having FUN
Following Jesus should be an adventure and we should model LIFE more abundantly
- You should laugh A LOT in youth ministry. Have inside jokes!
- Laughter builds community, which builds relationship, which leads to openness, which leads to life change.
- Don’t just water the leaves, but water the root.