youth worker, youth ministry, leadership

Five Questions Every Youth Worker Should be Ready to Answer

By Doug Franklin October 22, 2012

These questions are just the basics of youth ministry. By keeping these questions in front of us we will continue to think of ways to grow the ministry and make sure we are not missing anything important. If you don’t have any answer to one of these questions, you may want to use it as a goal or challenge for the coming year.

Do you have an answer?

1. What is your process to develop a student’s spiritual life? Remember, you are not an activities director. You should have insight into how to connect a student’s heart to God’s.  How are you going to use evangelism, discipleship and mentoring, not just as activities, but as tools that develop your students?

Warning: You’re not looking for a long-winded answer. You’re looking for spiritual maturity.  Every student’s spiritual needs are different.  Do you have the wisdom and sensitivity to lead your students in spiritual growth?

2. How are you going to develop your adult volunteers?  Adult volunteers who disciple students are the backbone of every great youth ministry.  Youth leaders need to know how to recruit and train their volunteer staff in order to grow the ministry.  What is your track record in working with volunteer staff?  How willing are you to empower volunteers?

Warning:  Some youth leaders like to be the center of attention and are unable to give away control to their volunteer staff.  This will only stifle the long-term growth and depth of your youth ministry.  You want to empower a volunteer staff to mentor others, by transferring their own skills and abilities to each volunteer.

3.How are you growing as a leader?  This question may seem simple, but the effectiveness of your youth ministry is based on the your leadership level.  If the youth leader is growing in his or her own leadership abilities, the youth ministry will most likely be growing as well.  A youth ministry will naturally take on the personality of their example.  A teachable youth leader is magnetic around students.  Their humility is seen as authentic, and the students will begin to take on the same humble traits.

Warning:   Do not be a know-it-all.  Your youth ministry is limited by your youth leader’s ability to grow.  As a leader, he or she needs to be able to set goals, cast vision, recruit adults, inspire students, etc.  Remember, you cannot give what you do not have.


4. Where are you at with Jesus? Spiritual maturity is a key to leading a healthy youth ministry. When the head of the ministry has a dynamic, growing spiritual life the organization will reflect it. Do all youth leaders always experience dynamic spiritual growth? No, but they have discernment to know when the dryness is lack of desire or spiritual challenge.

5. What is your plan to develop leaders in the ministry?  Healthy youth ministries develop leaders at multiple levels.  What is your plan to develop student leaders, college interns, and adult leaders in the ministry?  Think, not for a three step plan, but for any indication that this is even on your radar.  Anyone can talk about leadership, but the answer to this question will tell you how important it is to you.
Warning:  It takes a very mature your workers to think at this level.  Don’t be discouraged if you’re not there yet.  The real question you want answered is, do you have the humility to get there someday?


There isn’t a right answer to any of these questions.  But the answers to these five questions will tell you a lot about your understanding of youth ministry and your potential to lead your students.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More