What Young People Need in a Youth Worker

Nathan Morton

Intro: One of the rules for Communist infiltration is “corrupt the young.” I believe one
of the rules for us as Youthworkers should be “instruct the young.” Making a
Godly impact on youth is our only way to reach beyond our life time and influence the future.

But many times the task is frustrating because we don’t exactly know what our young people need out of us. Here in this session we’ll look at some principles that may ease the frustration. I call them the 3 essential “ships” of youth work: Leadership, Fellowship, and Discipleship. Like the 3 legs supporting a tripod, these 3 elements are essential to any youth program no matter what size.


A. Definition: Position of influence, guidance, or command; a position in front or at the head; rank – in – charge.

1. “Followship” a Biblical prerequisite to leadership – I Corinthians 11:1

2. Confidence is appropriate – John 14: 6

B. Avoid the “Youthworker As Peer” Syndrome

1. Celebrities vs heros

2. Harmful results of “pizza pal” mentality

C. Jesus Christ’s example of leadership

1. “Follow me” – Matthew 4:19

2. Definite direction, dynamic purpose

D. Results of proper leadership

1. Growth climate

2. A group with direction

Proper leadership will produce the second supporting leg of the tripod which is fellowship. This is the balance of leadership.
For leadership to have impact and influence it must have exposure to those being led. Leadership cannot stay locked up like a hermit, passing out commands in a dictator – like fashion. You must touch the lives of those you are trying to lead.


A. Definition: Condition of being together sharing similar interest and experiences; a union of friends.

1. “Koinonia” (Greek) – partnership, communion, participation

2. A fellowship deeper than just “pals”

B. One of the links in the chain of the New Testament Church ¬Acts 2:42.

1. An essential to unity

2. An essential in transmitting Christ

C. The curse of Adam was broken fellowship with God

1. Christ’s purpose – II Corinthians 5:19

2. He started a worldwide restoration of fellowship with a band of 12 – John 15:15

D. Fellowship means availability

1. No happiness as great as the joy of finding an understanding heart

2. Jesus Christ came in flesh – the ultimate fellowship – Hebrews 4:15

The third supporting element of a youth program will be a natural product of the first two. This third prong is that of discipleship.

The travail of the youthworker is that of Paul in Galations 4:19 “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.”

Our job is not complete until Christ is reproduced in our youth. The means? Us, as Youthworkers.

III. Discipleship:

A. Definition: Reproducing Christ in others; transmitting Godly character by the example and influence of lifestyle.

1. Don’t expect 100% returns on investments

2. Discipleship is planting seed in hope of the harvest

B. Jesus prayer of Discipleship – John 17:6-26

1. He left a portion of Himself to the world through the disciples

2. These were a result of His leadership and fellowship

C. Take your time – Jesus did

1. Don’t waste time on “Throngers”

2. Apostles were disciples who stayed with it

D. The disciples fell short at times

1. Patience – an essential ingredient throughout the discipleship process

2. Pray that God would open your eyes and heart to the “disciples” of your group

3. Building men and women, not programs

In conclusion let us realize that these 3 elements at work in a youthworker will produce what we all strive for – an authentic Christian youth group.

I believe the cycle Jesus showed us is the cycle we have discussed here today. To a bunch of mediocre fishermen he gave direction to a higher purpose. The outgrowth of His leadership was deep, enduring fellowship as the disciples absorbed the character of their master. The final stage of the process, discipleship, formed the generation that launched the powerful New Testament Church.

To break this process would jeopardize revival in a youth group. But to diligently and patiently apply this process will insure us the promise of Psalm 126:6 ” He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall DOUBTLESS come again, BRINGING HIS SHEAVES WITH HIM.”

The above article, “What Young People Need in a Youthworker,” is written by Nathan Morton. The article is pages 17-20.

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