When it comes to the teenagers in our ministries, giving our best matters. The reason why is simple: “Getting better at youth ministry is worth the effort because teenagers are worth the effort,” writes veteran youth worker Kurt Johnston. With that in mind, he put together this compact, practical, and approachable book for youth ministry volunteers, brimming with insights and wisdom from his decades in youth ministry—including some memorable and hilarious stories of the mistakes that taught him along the way.
Broken down into ten essential topics, the contents here apply to all youth ministry volunteers, whether you’ve been involved for decades or days, and regardless of your age, gender, or the square footage and general awesomeness of your youth space. A roster of seasoned volunteer youth workers provide commentary to round out each chapter, offering perspectives and important lessons learned from their individual contexts.
Whether you read these words on your own or collectively with others on your youth ministry team, who knows: what you find here just might help you become the best volunteer youth worker in the history of the world!
Your youth ministry needs a mission and a vision. Most of you will nod right now, but a lot of people have trouble to see the difference between a vision and a mission or fail to see how these two relate to each other. It’s no use developing a mission or a vision for your youth ministry if you don’t understand what it’s for. Let’s see if we can shed some light in this darkness.
Here’s a quick overview of the different elements of vision casting and planning your youth ministry:
Mission: defines purpose, 10 years
Vision: defines future, 5 years
Strategy: defines plans, 2-3 years
Operational plan: defines actions, 1 year
Now let’s discuss each of these elements separately.
Today I want to give you some ideas for what a youth ministry training session could look like, assuming you’re doing a ‘live’ one and not one via video or podcast. Here are the essential elements of a youth ministry training session:
I think it’s crucial to always start your training with reading from God’s Word. It’s helps us to focus on why we’re doing youth ministry, Whom we’re serving in it all. I really advice you to prepare this part just as well as the actual training. It happens too often that we pick out some random Bible passage without really linking it to the rest of the day and the content of the training.
Take the time to find a fitting passage that will inspire your volunteers in their role in youth ministry, don’t stay on the beaten track here. Something new and fresh often works very well. Prepare it well, explain the context and link it to the rest of the day. It would be even better if you can find a passage as a central theme for the day and keep coming back to it…
The first question you have to ask yourself is if the issue really is a lack of motivation, or if there are other problems. In my experience, lack of time is often the biggest cause for volunteers to not be interested in training. It doesn’t mean they’re not motivated, it means they have no time for the training. And who can blame them when they’re trying to fit in their family, jobs and their youth ministry related activities into their schedule.
You know what you want your youth ministry volunteers to know, you have made a good assessment of what they already know and thus you know what you need to teach them. The next step then is to complete your youth ministry training plan by deciding how you will teach your volunteers what’s on the ‘to teach list’. Continue reading How to train your youth ministry volunteers (part 3)
Once you have made a list of knowledge and skill you feel are necessary for your volunteers, you’ll need to define what they know already. Since you can’t possibly say that for all your volunteers as a group, you’ll have to make a list of your volunteers and more or less indicate their individual competencies on each of the items you deem critical for doing their job well. Continue reading How to train your youth ministry volunteers (part 2)
Most of the leaders and volunteers in our team do not have a formal youth ministry training or degree. That means that we need to help them acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to help them serve well in whatever role they’ve taken on in youth ministry. But how do we do that? How do we provide the right kind of youth ministry training for our team?
It’s start with making a plan. Sure, you can engage in some well-intentioned haphazard training on subjects you think are either interesting or relevant, but how will you know if you’ve covered it all? If you really want to give your leaders and volunteers the tools they need to do a great job, you’ll need to do some serious planning.
I’m assuming you have lots of info you want your leaders and volunteers to know, to have accessible. There are so many important documents in youth ministry that leaders should have access to at all times. You could email it or give it on paper, but chances are they’ll lose it, keep an old version by mistake or won’t be able to find it when they need it.
And of course you want to train your leaders to make sure they grow in their youth ministry skills. So you give them articles, posts and documents to read, podcasts to listen to and maybe even videos to watch. But how to do this in an easy way, a platform where all your leaders could access the info at any time?