2 Things Every Youth Worker Should Know

Earlier this week I received a message from someone who wants to go into youth ministry as a vocation. She asked me about training, and wondered specifically what types of classes she would need to take that would help her. I did answer her (rather quickly, in fact), and thought I would share my thoughts with you, O’ gentle readers.

So what does one need to be an effective youth worker? I assume that the individual already has a heart for teens and a heart for God (without these, you should not enter into vocational or volunteer ministry). There are two areas of training that you should seek out that could greatly increase your chances of being an effective minister to teenagers.

The first area of training is that of Biblical literacy. Yes, you should really get to know the Scriptures. Some of the best classes I took at Geneva were the ones that made me work through the Scriptures. Concepts like exegesis and hermeneutics were king (and still are today). The fact that Scripture is not just an old, dead book but still vibrant and relevant in our lives is huge! Some teens will want to see something back up your claims for Christ. Some will want to know answers that can only be provided by Scripture. Others will be experiencing things in their life that others have already gone through that we can learn from. We need to know Scripture, and we need to be ready to apply it into our students’ lives, and to help them learn how to apply it themselves.

The second area is that of counseling. This is one area I wish that I had focused more upon in my time at Geneva. I have learned over the past decade or so that many teens truly are hurting, and oftentimes they need more than just a quick peek at Scripture to know what to do. They need someone to listen, to walk alongside them in their pain or their sadness. I work with many teenagers here in Corry who are hurting from broken homes, uncaring parents, warped views on sex and more that combine for a lot of hurt that keeps them from being able to see God’s love for them. Being able to come alongside them and to counsel them allows me to be more than just a distant talking head to them. It allows me to impact them in such a way that they can begin to see their need for something greater than they already have.

There is a lot of training available out there, more than I have mentioned here. But if you spend time with these two areas, it will set you up for a lot of success as a youth worker.

So what about you? Do you think there is another area I may have missed? Or perhaps you have a story you would like to share about an experience one of these areas could have helped you? Share it in the comments below!