I have known some amazing volunteer youth workers over the years. Some were crazy and enthusiastic extroverts – and others were quiet and thoughtful introverts.
I thank God for all of the Godly, faithful “lay” youth workers who willingly share their time and their lives with kids. These people are the true heroes of youth ministry. They are impacting lives of the next generation for eternity – and I know that God will bless them for their investment in the lives of teenagers.
I often tell volunteer youth workers not to beat themselves up for what they can’t do. I encourage them to do what they can do to minister to kids – and to be faithful in doing those things over the long haul. There’s not just one model or one version of volunteers. God can use a wide variety of models (some single, some married; some men, some women; and some young, some older), to impact teenagers for eternity.
Some volunteer youth workers are outstanding teachers who can creatively and effectively communicate the truth of God’s Word. Other youth workers are energetic and talented worship leaders who are legitimately directing the hearts of their students to the Lord. Others are unbelievably talented in using technology – and some are really, really good at planning and organizing games and programs.
The individual skill sets are almost endless, but the most important characteristic of a great volunteer youth worker is that he or she loves the Lord, is actively living for Him, and is passionate about sharing the Lord Jesus Christ, in whatever way possible, with teenagers.
If you are a career youth pastor that is looking for other Godly adults to complete your team, or if you are a pastor serving in a smaller church and you need people to work with your church’s teenagers, or if you are a volunteer youth worker yourself and need other adults to join you, the following list is for you.
5 Characteristics of Great Volunteer Youth Workers
- They are living for Lord.
As I mentioned briefly above, the most important characteristic of a great youth worker is that they love the Lord and are living consistently for Him. I’m not talking here about being a “super-Christian”, but about being a Godly adult – someone who is faithfully living for Him and who desires to point others toward Jesus. It’s not wise for churches to utilize adults as youth workers who are not genuinely living for Him.
- They are faithful and loyal.
Great youth workers are those who are dependable and reliable. You can count on them to be there week-after-week, and even year-after-year. Kids need adult leaders that will be there for them. I’ve often said that one of the most important characteristics of a true servant of God is someone who will just “show up.”
- They develop God-honoring relationships.
Maybe the most practical and tangible characteristic of great volunteer youth workers is the ability to connect with kids and their parents. They work hard to build positive and God-honoring relationships. That is why a team of adult youth workers is so important. Each person will connect with a different variety of kids. Plus, don’t forget that it takes time to develop relationships. Wise youth workers understand this truth and will proceed with caution and purpose to connect with kids.
- They are team players.
Great youth workers understand that they are not “Lone Rangers”, they are a part of a team – working together in and through the local church to accomplish God’s work. They fulfill their role as teammates in the big picture of what God is doing. They understand that it “takes a church” to help students grow toward spiritual maturity – and they are willing to play their part to help accomplish that mission.
- They use the Bible consistently.
I know some volunteer youth workers who are amazing teachers – and I know some who aren’t. Others are incredible in one-on-one situations – and are very effective as counselors and advisors. Some are talented communicators in large groups – and others are better in small groups. The important thing to remember is this: great youth workers use the Bible! Your students are looking for answers – and the job of youth workers is to show them that God’s Word contains everything He wants us to know. Great youth workers get their students into the Word of God!
Note: for my podcast on this topic, see https://youthministryquestions.podbean.com/.
Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash