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.

  • Adam Tisdale


  • Pingback: What are the Qualifications of a Youth Group Leader?

  • Pingback: What are the Qualifications of a Youth Group Leader? -IKTHUS.NET

  • Nick Stuart

    Youth ministry in church (vs. Young Life, YFC, and other organizations that are a parachurch outreach to unchurched teens which have their place and merit support as if they were missionary activities) should be abolished. The church should devote those resources to training the parents how to nurture their teen’s Christian formation and supporting family-centered events.
    Doctors bury their mistakes, youth pastors graduate theirs.
    Christian parents hand their children over at the age of 5 to a system of indoctrination whose foundational worldview is atheistic materialism (also known as the public school system), ignore them until they turn into teenagers, then wonder what happened to that sweet kid they used to know and go looking for a “good youth ministry” so the youth pastor can “fix” their kids. Or at least duct tape them together until they graduate high school.

  • Rudy K

    Reformed churches would not need to ask and answer this question if they were more consistently “Sola Scriptura”. This will undoubtedly sound simplistic to some but there are no youth groups prescribed or described in Scripture and the youth leaders that are prescribed and described are parents, elders, and pastors. Christian parents would be greatly helped if their church leaders refrained from effectively declaring them incompetent to disciple their own children by insisting on the church “Sunday Schooling”, “Catechising/Discipling” and “Youth Grouping” their children. Parents are the ones that need the church to disciple them and develop their skills so that they can fulfill their God given responsibilities towards their children. Many Reformed Christian parents have grown spiritually lazy towards their children on account of unbiblical traditions and pressures from their church leadership to train their children for them. A recommended resource is “A Weed in the Church” by Scott Brown. R.C. Sproul Jr. says, “A Weed in the Church is honest, thoughtful and biblical. In the best Reformation tradition it considers our own traditions in the light of God’s Word. And then, directs us to obedience to the Word. I commend it highly. — RC Sproul Jr., Founder of Highlands Ministries, and a teaching fellow at Ligonier Ministries.