Youth Leaders – Are They a Ministry Gift?
Youth Leadership, like any other skill can be learned, the secular youth work being ample proof of this. If there is the least leadership ability in a person, then by training and development, leadership qualities can be drawn out and developed.
The person may not be a Number One Leader but a back up to one who is, and quite adequately work in a team situation, but this does not qualify them for a Number One position, if they are not gifted for this. Just as there are many trained Pastors, who go through Bible College, come out with qualifications, take a Church, achieve nothing, so the same can happen in Youth Work. Probably even more so, as the average Church Leadership seems to believe anyone who is young, and prepared to help, can lead a Youth Group.
There is a big difference between a baby-sitter and a kindergarten leader, there is a big difference between a Pastor out of Seminary and a Ministry Gift, there is a big difference between someone who has a leaning towards youth and a real leader.
The Seminary Pastor does not always impart Spirit, merely knowledge, and where that happens the Church suffers; the Ministry Gift, even at times looking inadequate, imparts Spirit, inspires and motivates others.
Any Youth Work, to be successful, requires a Ministry Gift to lead it, however under-developed that gift is.
The answer to the question ‘is this person capable of leading a youth work and bringing results?’ is simply ‘are they a ministry gift?
If yes, work with them. If not, the Church will just be providing a baby-minding service and a true youth work will never develop’.
‘How do you spot a young ministry gift?’ is often the question asked; how can we know whether, with training and input, they can be a successful Youth Leader, producing a youth work that leads many young people to Jesus, disciples them, releases the gifts within them and reproduces other gifts?
The following guidelines are a list of questions to ask about possible leaders who are being considered; although one is not suggesting that it is a complete list, but to be used as a guide to those who would have to answer the question ‘Could this person run a youth group?’
- Do they have love for young people?
- Have they been involved in Church work before?
- Have they sought for opportunities for service?
- Do they relate to young people?
- Are they a confident person?
- Can they approach people?
- Do they have the courage of their convictions?
- Do they respect leadership?
- Do leadership trust them with ‘people’ tasks?
- Will they take the position if there is no money involved?
- Will they take the position if there is not a full time job on the horizon?
- Are they failing to make it in the world?
- Do they relate to youth?
- Do youth automatically go to them?
- Are they outgoing people?
- Are they self-starters?
- Are they creative?
- Are they prepared to give all their time to the youth?
- Are they prepared to be available any time?
- Are they prepared to have their home open?
- Have they been tested in this world anywhere?
- Are they a Ministry Gift?
- Are they operating that gift?
- Are they already a sociable ‘people’ person?
- Can they talk to unsaved?
- Will they talk to unsaved?
- Are they interested in unsaved?
- Do they see this as a stepping stone to another ministry?
- Do they have the respect of their present Church pastors?
- Do they believe they have the ability themselves?
- Do they have vision for youth work?
- Do they have a direction to take the youth work?
- Is this something that our Lord is birthing in them?
- Has it been on their heart for many months?
- Will youth follow them?
- Do they have youth round them where they are now?!
- Do they have a personal philosophy for youth work?
- Do they think it is their life calling by the Lord ?
I would expect any prospective leaders one was considering for Youth leadership to come up positively on at least 2/3 of the total list of questions. This would at least give an indication of ministry gifting, for what I consider is the most important role in the Church – that of Youth Leader.