Do you have a great youth leader? Most of us would probably answer “yes” for a variety of reasons! Here are some standards by which you can measure the awesomeness of your youth leader!
- Do his/her words and actions match? This is HUGE! It all adds up to integrity and trustworthiness! Does your youth leader’s life match the words he or she preaches? Mistakes happen because youth leaders are also human, but mostly their words and actions should match. If they do, then your youth leader is on the road to awesomeness! If however, your youth leader preaches on Sunday about how God’s people should not drink alcohol, but you saw him or her on Saturday night having a few beers, then he or she may have an issue with integrity. If this is the case, you should discuss it with a parent or another trustworthy church leader and they can help you handle the situation.
- Does he/she maintain appropriate contact with the youth? Within the youth group where I serve, we try to maintain gender specific contact (guys with guys and girls with girls); that’s how we choose to make sure our contact with our youth kids is always appropriate. Of course all, the youth leaders give the kids hugs, but if a guy leader is giving a youth girl a hug, they always give a “side hug” so there isn’t even a hint of inappropriate contact. Your youth leader may do things differently and that’s okay as long as it is appropriate and you feel safe and comfortable.
- Does he/she encourage unity with the whole church or just within the youth group? If it’s with the whole church, congratulations, your youth leader is proving that he or she is awesome! If your youth leader only encourages unity within the youth group, there may be an issue. While unity within individual ministries is good, unity with your entire church as well as the whole Body of Christ should regularly be encouraged.
- Are you learning from him or her? Does he or she teach the Word of God? Does he or she plan activities and outreaches that are fun but also help you practice what you’ve learned? For example, if your youth leader is teaching you about serving people like Jesus did, does he or she follow up with ideas of ways you can practice that kind of service or an activity that involves serving others, like feeding the homeless or offering to clean the church?
- Does he/she confront people or problems in the youth group when necessary? This can be a difficult one for some youth leaders. For most of us youth leaders or youth pastors, we love our youth kids and the desire God has put in our hearts is to see all of His kids saved, loved and living out God’s plan for their lives. It can be scary confronting youth about problems, because what if they never come back to youth group, or worse, what if they leave God entirely? What do we leaders tell God when we have to answer Him about how we ran His youth group? Confrontation can be hard, but it is part of the job of a youth leader because it helps maintain unity and encourages personal and spiritual growth in you!
Here are some warnings your youth leader is NOT awesome:
- They do not teach from the Bible
- The promote hatred of people instead of hatred of sin
- They constantly betray your trust
- They touch or speak to you in any inappropriate ways
- The encourage or teach anything that goes against the Word of God
- They gossip or speak negatively about other people/leaders in the church
Always remember this about your youth leaders: We are only human. We will make mistakes, we might hurt your feelings (we don’t mean to!) and we don’t have all the answers, but we’ll do everything we can to help you grow in your relationship with God.
Girls, can you think of more ways to measure the awesomeness of your youth leaders? Tell us what makes your youth leader awesome (or not!)!
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach…but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money (1 Timothy 3:2-3).