6 Lessons in 6 Years of Youth Ministry.

Here are 6 lessons I have learnt in my 6 years of working in the youth ministry.

Control your passion

I’m a very passionate young man. When I first started working with young people, the passion was there for all to see but all too often, it got out of control. Soon I was labelled as a harsh, condemning and judgemental leader. I was surprised and thought my work and efforts were not appreciated. It took a number of years for me to understand why some of the youths felt this way about me. My passion was very good but my approach was very bad. I was very harsh and unconsciously attacked people for making mistakes. Today, I’m still very passionate but more calculated in my approach. 

Not everyone shares your level of passion

It is fair to say that we don’t share the same level of passion for every ministry in the church. Similarly, I have come to understand that not everyone is passionate about the youth ministry. I used to get angry and very frustrated, almost to the point of tears when people take a lackadaisical approach to things involving the youth. I wished everyone would share the same burden I have for the youth ministry. It was later on that I learnt that everyone has a different calling and hence different areas of interests.

You can’t force people to make the right choices, you can only advise them

This was probably what led some youths to dislike me. Decisions determine your destiny. Your decisions today will determine your results tomorrow. There were some young people who were blatantly going down the wrong path and I always did my best to steer them towards the right path. When they resisted my help, I rebuked them harshly. This was because I knew they were putting themselves in danger and didn’t want them to destroy their lives. I have come to realise that you can only signpost people the right way but you can’t force them to follow the right way. Despite my best efforts, some still left the church and went back to their previous lifestyle. 

Humility is key

I have learnt to say sorry when I am in the wrong and I make myself available to be corrected by both young and old. I have an open door policy where anyone can come and address any issues with me especially when I offend them. Potentially, the down side of this approach is that some people become familiar when you go down to their level. However, the benefits are massive such as people pointing out my weaknesses so that I can work on them. Moreover, it allows young people to feel comfortable to share their issues with me in confidentiality. This is something I value highly.  

Love your youths

Every leader ought to love the people he/she is leading. I mentioned in lesson one that I was seen as judgemental but one of the things that allowed the young people to be tolerant was that they knew that I love them and have their best interest at heart. You can’t excel in a role you don’t love and you can’t effectively lead people you don’t love.

Love means seeking the best interests of the youths and putting them ahead of my personal interest. It means investing in their lives even with my personal finances, staying up late nights sometimes to help with assignments and personal statements. My youths know that I expect them to go further in life than I ever do. I tell them this at every opportunity in order to push them to be the best God has called them to be.

Love also means setting days aside to fast and pray for their welfare. Love means forgiving people when they offend me and still treat them like nothing ever happened and mean it. When I get tired and feel like giving up, love is what keeps me going because love perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:7).

You have to be led by the Holy Spirit

This is the most important point and perfectly summarises all the points above. The Holy Spirit empowers me to control my passion, be understanding, remain humble and love the youths God has put me in charge of.

When you allow the Spirit of God to direct your path, you avoid many mistakes and you’ll always know what to do in every situation. The Holy Spirit prompts me to intercede and check up on particular individuals, and also directs me to put on the right programmes that meet everyone’s needs.

Obeying the Holy Spirit can also mean going against the wishes of others but God will always justify you when your obedience is complete. Don’t always seek for people’s approval especially when it doesn’t tally with what God is telling you. God is big enough to vindicate you.  

Please share with every leader involved with the youth ministry


7 thoughts on “6 Lessons in 6 Years of Youth Ministry.

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  1. Very true. I think I made the same mistake as a youth leader when I first came to Christ. I was very Passionate. Passion is good but my approach was often wrong. And when the complains came I couldn’t understand. It felt like an attack on my personality and I didn’t know any better. So My solution so to give up. Which I did and I found out it was like throwing water on the fire in me and I started to regress in my spiritual growth. It was then I realised that if like Jonah you go the opposite way and refuse to do what God wants you to do, you will end up in trouble and come running back. Because it does you more good to obey than to run. I had to learn to understand people better and realise that God was patient with me so I must also be patient with others.

  2. Great stuff. Learnt a lot through reading this. Passion, love and the Holy Spirit- the great ethos of excellent youth leadership. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is deep truth and great to read with a lot of wisdom to take away. God bless you for your transparency and honesty.

    God help us for this important role youth leaders play in the lives of young people and the church.

  4. I am so grateful for this message. I just recently joined the youth ministry at my church and it can be very frustrating at times. So, I appreciate your honesty and the lessons you shared. I definitely learnt a lot .#Blessed

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