The primary task of youth ministry is to love youth where they are, to encourage them in developing their relationship to God, to provide them with opportunities for nurture and growth, and to challenge them to respond to God’s call to serve their communities.
The most critical factor in an effective, long-term youth ministry is the ongoing presence of adults who are caring, confident, competent, and committed in their work with young people. The basic quality needed to be an effective adult youth counselor is appreciation for youth and what they can do. All other skills can be learned.
An effective counselor is someone who:
- cares about young persons and their faith journeys
- knows how to work with people to help them learn leadership skills
- is willing to take risks both in relationships and in program activities
- is open to other persons and ideas
- has a commitment to honesty in speech and relationships
- knows when it is appropriate to be firm and when to be flexible (which is most of the time!)
- is dependable, loving, realistic, and utterly human
- believes youth ministry is important enough to give it his or her best efforts
- has a sense of humor
- is willing to listen more and talk less
- is free of concern for stereotyped marks of success (large numbers in attendance, personal recognition, etc.)
- reveres the opportunities of any given moment
- find joy and excitement in sharing experiences with youth
The question is …not “What may I do for or to these young people?” but “How may I be present with these young people in an authentic vulnerable, compassionate, and committed way?”
You are a special person!
You can make a difference in the lives of our youth.