I have been reaching out to youth/students for the last 10 years sharing my testimony of what the Lord has done in my life and giving an opportunity for them to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. Over the last year the Lord has transitioned me from being a youth evangelist into a new area of youth outreach … Discipleship. I run a thriving student ministry called The Lost Boys Project. The Lord has showed me clearly that this is where I am supposed to be by breaking my heart for the “Lost Boys” and Girls of this generation and by the overwhelming response/success we have had by God’s grace alone that students are showing up week in and week out. These students are from all walks of life and are making decisions for Christ.
For the sole purpose of bettering myself to become a better Youth Leader/Mentor/Friend to The Lost Boys Project students, I reached out to 5 men that I respect tremendously for their hearts for youth. I asked them
“What are 5 Characteristics of a good Youth Leader?”
I received so many great answers and after grouping like responses I ended up with 7 unique characteristics. So here are 7 common characteristics that I gathered in no particular order. Enjoy!
1. Joyful Heart – Be Relevant & Have Fun
Proverbs 17:22 – A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
The generation that we are trying to reach doesn’t want “boring” .. They want fun. This doesn’t mean water down the Gospel and take their focus on Christ but get creative. God created fun, so lets “Party for Jesus”.
2. Consistency – Longevity is key
Matthew 24:13 – But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Don’t just be another face to these students that is in and out of their lives. We live in a noncommittal world, lets change that. They need to know there is a safe place for them no matter what. Be available and remember “The greatest gift you can give yourself, is to give yourselves to others” .. That’s what Jesus did for us!
3. Fatherly – Have big shoulders
Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
God is our heavenly father and unfortunately a lot of youth don’t have earthly fathers in their lives. Be that Godly example as a man/woman that these students may or may not have. Listen to your students and have “big shoulders” to carry their burdens. Chances are you’ll hear some pretty heavy stuff. Be prepared, be Fatherly.
4. Grace – Be Understanding
2 Peter 1:2 – May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
This generation of young men and women lack grace. They are quick to act and get angry. We need to raise up a generation of peace makers. What better way to do this than by showing Grace ourselves.
5. Heart for Discipleship – Plant, Water, & Grow
Matthew 13:23 – As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
We need to make sure that deep roots are being grown in these kids. If we don’t accomplish this then they won’t just be graduating school their senior year … They’ll be graduating their faith. We aren’t here to just babysit or hangout. We are here to lead and guide our students into a real forever standing relationship with Christ.
6. Transparency – Honesty on all levels
Romans 3:23 – For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Its hard for youth to relate to us if they think we have it all together. We know that we are all far from perfect and we put on “the face” that everything is okay sometimes. I believe that being transparent, honest, and REAL with this kids about stuff that’s happened or is happening in our lives, marriages, etc will speak volumes to our students. No I’m not saying give them every gory detail of your life but giving them a glimpse into your “not so perfect” life will allow the Lord to move even more. We all have fallen short!
7. Passionate Leader – Be Bold
1 Corithians 16:14 – Let all that you do be done in love.
We have to be passionate about these students and we have to lead them to Christ. I’ve met some Leaders that are great men of God but when it comes to leading students they are timid. YOU know what Christ did in your life and YOU know that you are called to make disciples so be BOLD and CONFIDENT when leading your students.
Being involved in youth has been a tremendous blessing in my life, but its not for everyone. I really hope this encourages you. Share this with anyone who is a youth leader or is looking to get involved in reaching the youth of this generation. Also feel free to comment below and share your thoughts.
THANK YOU: Tim Cantwell, Jake Fouquier, Gary Garcia, Michael Bowles, and Rudy Flores for taking the time to share your thoughts and for being flat out rock stars!!