Tag Archive | Youth Leader

10 Ways to Be a Better Youth Leader 28-1

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Posted in AIS - Newsletter, AIS CD - Ministry Resources, YM - Youth Ministry, YMGE - Youth Ministry0 Comments

Why Youth Leaders Fail

By: Charles T. Smith

Nothing is more strategic to the high school department and total youth ministry than an effective working relationship between the adult sponsors and the youth officers. It is right here that the real struggle for success is won or lost. As one youth sponsor put it, “This is where the action is,” Without positive direction on this level you, as a sponsor, will not experience the success you hope for.

Through several years of personal involvement in church youth ministries, I have observed four ways in which adult sponsors have worked with teens who were assigned or elected to certain responsibilities in a youth department. From my viewpoint, the first three ways are games which should NOT be played by adults engaged in youth work.

I. Hold your seat

One game youth sponsors often play is called, “Hold your seat,” or “Let me do it.” It’s like an athlete’s buying season tickets for some friends so they may attend the games in which he is starring. What the
athlete is really saying is, “Here are some free tickets: now come watch me perform.” In other words, just hold your seat.

Youth sponsors frequently play this game and it actually has its advantages. If the adult is talented, he can be assured of a smooth-running program. For the perfectionist, this may be the only way to realize the “ideals” of youth work. After all, the youth will be “learning how” a program can be conducted well, or how a social can become a success.

But there are definite disadvantages to playing “Hold your seat,” such as:

1. Teens are not content to be mere spectators. They want to make their own worthwhile contributions to the church.

2. After some training, teens can often do a more effective and creative job in a particular responsibility than adult leaders can.

3. Young people learn more readily the true meaning of the Christian life and its obligations by getting involved in expression and activities rather than by passively watching adults.

4. Youth leaders, often untrained, wear out quite rapidly in this game. It’s difficult, if not impossible, successfully to entertain youth who are being beguiled, taught, and led by professionals on all other levels such as TV, school, etc.

II. Dump the ball

When “Hold your seats” fails to be productive, youth leaders soon fall back on the second and easier game of “Dump the ball.” Perhaps they have attended a Christian education conference and heard a speaker say, “We must give our young people responsibility!” So they dump the whole program into the laps of the teens. This is like the coach approaching his team and saying, “Here’s the stadium, the equipment, and a book on game strategy. Now go to it. Get out there and win!”

But it doesn’t just HAPPEN! Oh sure, some teens may be excited about the initial possibilities of being in complete control, but underneath, their basic insecurities and lack of experience will soon bring the group to disillusionment, discouragement, and failure. Providing a meeting room, curriculum, a plan of organization, (including a job analysis for each officer), will never, alone, produce responsible officers and a fruitful youth ministry. Even the ablest teen leaders of high school and college age will flounder under
these circumstances.

III. Play it by ear

In this game, neither the group nor the sponsor does any planning. Every one simply plays it by ear without planning, committees, or officers. It is as if a coach had no strategy for the team, and not even training sessions.

The group runs strictly by felt needs, either needs of the group or of the leader. They go from week to week without setting spiritual goals or planning for programs or activities. The group runs on a series of

This game usually brings few accomplishments or spiritual goals since “if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it.”

IV. Concentration

In reading the Gospel accounts of Christ’s earthly ministry, you soon discover our Saviour’s underlying pattern in working with His twelve “officers.” It may be irreverent to call Him a sponsor, but He would
have filled the bill perfectly. He called His disciples, taught them, then delegated to them responsibility commensurate with, and at times greater than, their knowledge and skill. Frequently they failed, but
He always continued to spark them on by meeting with them regularly for evaluation, further instruction, and for assignments of future responsibilities and projects. He never ceased to pray for their development and saw to it that they experienced a measure of success, without which they might have become dropouts.

Out of Christ’s twelve “executive officers,” eleven were eventually successes, but one was a great disappointment and failure. Not all the fruit of time and energy Christ gave in the development of these lives for Christian service was seen during His three years of active ministry on earth. But later, these men became known as those who “turned the world upside down.”

It is quite likely that the fruit resulting from your energies and time spent as a sponsor in your church youth ministry will not all be evident in the immediate future. Christian maturity comes only through
a process of divine transformation, and is always dependent upon the willingness of the subject. At times sponsors find they are struggling with a “Judas,” in the sense that, as an officer, one youth fails to develop positively and finally becomes a “lame duck.”

Once an officer is duly installed, however, it is the sponsor’s responsibility to guide and help this teen in the completion of his duties. If the young person fails to do his part, serious counseling sessions should be held in an effort to correct his weaknesses. Removing an officer from his position is a last resort which demands
great wisdom and tact.

Sometimes it is good for the youth officers to taste failure, just as it is good at times for adults in their responsibilities. Experiencing failure is just part of the maturing process, but if it is to lead to future successes, it should be followed by evaluation periods with constructive, positive steps outlined for meetings and activities to come. Nothing succeeds like success. When a teen is given a responsibility sponsors must, under the power of the Spirit, do all they can to see him experience some degree of success. When the young people succeed, we as sponsors have succeeded.

When youth sponsors play those three games described earlier, they are putting their youth ministry in a suicide dive, or at least placing it upon a very hit-and-miss basis. Since we are seeking to carry on a
ministry that will make permanent marks upon the lives of our officer, we are obligated to follow in the pattern of Christ. As Christ’s person and methods changed the world, so can we change the world of
our youth ministry by following in His steps.

(The original publisher of the above material is unknown.)

Christian Information Network

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The Responsible Youth Leader


What are the prime factors that develop a responsible Youth Leader?

A. Know your purpose.

1. Of your position.

a. Not just a title.
b. Requires certain qualifications.

1. Servants of all.
2. Spiritual.
3. Patience.
4. Dedication.
5. Age limitation.
6. Good relationship with young people.
7. Good Example.
8. Initiative.

2. Of your youth group.

a. To learn spirituality.
b. To express themselves.
c. To train for leadership.
d. For service.

3. Of your committee.

a. Committee should consist of

1. Youth Leader,
2. Assistant youth leader,
3. Secretary/Treasurer,
4. 3 members of youth group.

b. Planning (pooling of ideas).

1. Church services.
2. Social activities.
3. Promotions.
4. Fund raising.
5. Misc. (as the need arises).

c. Delegate responsibilities.

1. Definition: to commission to act for one, to commit to the care of.
2. Examples: Jesus feeding the 5,000; Go ye; and tree trunk-branches-
leaves, blossoms, fruit.

d. Evaluation.

1. Of all programs and activities.
2. Benefits future plans.
3. Determines whether or not you are reaching goals.

B. Know how to lead.

1. Youth committee.

a. Agenda.
b. Always stay in control.

2. Youth service.

a. Meet the needs of young people.
b. Involve the young people.

3. Techniques of leadership.

a. Learned.
b. Encourage, don’t drive.
c. Be assertive (Say what you believe, believe what you way).
d. Proper attitude–PMA.
e. Self-confidence.
f. Smile.
g. Humor only when applicable.
h. Know where you are going.
i. Clear, cool thinking.
j. Good voice expression–pleasant.
k. Enthusiasm.
l. Be relaxed.
m. Good posture.
n. Good appearance.
o. Speak loud enough, but not too loudly.
p. Speak clearly.
q. Be sincere.

C. Know how to get a job completed.

1. Organize–take the responsibility.

a. See the needs.
b. Tie all working parts together as a working unit.

2. Deputize–share the responsibility.

a. Committee members.
b. Young people.

3. Supervise–Oversee the Responsibility.

a. Assignment form.
b. Check back for completion.

(The original source and/or publisher of the above material is

Christian Information Network

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How to Avoid Becoming a Bottleneck Youth Leader

How to Avoid Becoming a Bottleneck Youth Leader
Ron Edmondson

Leaders should aim to never be a bottleneck in the process of building a healthy and growing organization.
When I owned a small manufacturing company, I had to learn the language of the field. I obviously knew the term bottleneck, but I never really understood it until it became the difference in being profitable or not. When the bottom line depends on productivity being at its highest, as the one ultimately in control, you learn what the term means first hand.

A bottleneck is defined as “A point of congestion in a system that occurs when workloads arrive at a given point more quickly than that point can handle them” (investopedica.com).
In an organization, the bottleneck is many times the leader. When this happens, progress stalls, growth is limited and people are frustrated.

Here are seven characteristics of a bottleneck leader:

1. Every decision ultimately goes through the leader. People are annoyed because they feel devalued—like their ability to make a good decision is in question. When everyone has to wait for the leader to make a decision, things become awkward and valuable time is wasted. Productivity slows. Frustration rises.

2. New ideas or opinions are discouraged. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves—and they want to play a part in helping it become a reality. When their input isn’t welcomed they feel stifled, unfulfilled and unnecessary.

3. The leader is change-resistant. I know I just typed this sentence, but I’m not even sure I believe those two can go together. Leadership in its very definition involves change. Leaders are taking people somewhere new. You can’t get to new without change. The leader should be among the least afraid of change on the team.

4. There is no clear vision, or information isn’t readily available. People flounder because they don’t know what to do next. They don’t know how things are going or what is important to the leader. This bottleneck encourages laziness in some and discouragement in others. Leaders who spur movement in an organization are quick with information. They are transparent and continually share what they see as the future—as far as they can see.

5. The leader never delegates. When people feel empowered they think like “owners.” When the leader takes on unnecessary assignments, the leader is overburdened and the team is underutilized. Both suffer in the long term.

6. Potential leaders aren’t recruited—they are controlled. Leaders are built through a recruit, invest and release process. Consider Jesus. He recruited the disciples, invested in them and then sent them out to do the work. When people are controlled, they never develop. And, they learn to resent the leader.

7. Only the leader can launch a new initiative. The best leaders I know encourage people to take a risk. They create a “go for it” environment. When only the leader is allowed to “pull the trigger” or “push the first button” the organization faces a huge opportunity cost.

Leaders, ask yourself this question: In what ways am I a bottleneck in this organization?
If you aren’t certain, perhaps you should ask your team—even doing so anonymously.

Ron Edmondson is the senior past at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.
From: www.ronedmondson.com web site. October 2015.

The above article, “How to Avoid Becoming a Bottleneck Youth Leader” was written by Ron Edmondson. The article was excerpted from www.ronedmondson.com.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

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