I was recently asked about the kind of qualifications a church should be looking for in a youth group leader. In this case, it was a church looking for a man from within the congregation to fill a volunteer post. Here’s my short answer of non-negotiables.
Converted: He must be born again and love Christ.
Knowledgeable: Formal qualifications like MDiv or even a Bible College degree are not required. But he should have a good knowledge of the Bible and of doctrine. If it’s a confessional church, he should be able to commit to the confession.
Respected: He must have the respect of the kids rather than be an object of their pity or ridicule. Teens and college kids tend to be a bit critical of older people or anyone in authority over them and are often resistant to direction and instruction unless it is from someone they really respect.
Organized: Someone who plans ahead, prepares well, executes tasks, keeps good time, follows up questions, etc. His instruction is clear and structured.
Friendly: He must be relatable, quick to build friendships with the kids, caring, interested, etc. Without that, no amount of truth poured out of his mouth will enter their ears, far less their hearts.
Careful: He must have a guard around his mouth – careful not to speak rashly or angrily – and a guard around his heart – avoiding every appearance of evil when it comes to his dealings with girls and young women (and I suppose we must add, also with boys and young men).
That’s my short answer. What would you add?
As for a book, why not try Gospel Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide (Published by Crossway) $11.65.
I also think Tim Challies’ Visual Theology: Seeing and Understanding the Truth about God ($10.47) would be a great book for a Youth Group curriculum. A Study Guide is in the works.