Thursday, April 15, 2010


In recent weeks I have been working with some youth leaders to help develop a workable list of character traits found in the person who can effectively guide youth in their spiritual growth. We developed a list of five. Over the next several posts I will expand on these.

Number one on the list is “know your kids.”

As youth pastors/leaders we are responsible for the souls of our teenagers. Christ does the inward work but we are called to be “shepherds.” To know our youth we must go beyond showing up and leading a group. Youth ministry is far more than a mid-week or Sunday experience. I recruit volunteers who understand their presence at a “spiritual growth event” is merely the beginning of their work of actively caring for these youth.

When we begin knowing our kids we are more able to provide a growing environment for them. We understand more of their culture, their family systems, and their responses to life. This gives us the tools to authentically invest in their lives and to discern whom it is who really wants to grow and who does not. As we sort this out we are better able to provide opportunities for youth at their spiritual level of interest.

Choose a workable curriculum. Over the years curriculum has gotten a bad reputation. Those who say, “I never use curriculum” misunderstand its purpose. Good curriculum provides balance and gives us a clear objective. The wise teacher will use the pieces of a lesson working best for their group. There is no rule dictating we use an entire lesson. Quality curriculum saves me time, gives me a “running start” and frees me to do the greater work of being a loving shepherd in the lives of youth. This is the ultimate curriculum.

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