youth ministry, youth worker

Good Kids. No Vision. No Courage.

By Doug Franklin April 22, 2013

I often observe youth groups and how their leaders operate. The number one problem I see is that most youth leaders are willing to settle for good. If their students are good and things go well, then why mess with it? But the Kingdom of God doesn’t need good students, it needs great ones. Great students are self feeders when it comes to their spiritual lives. They are not perfect but they are striving to live for Christ.  Ask yourself these questions: What actions have I taken in the past month to move my good students to great ones? How many students have I confronted about trouble in their lives? How many students have I told all the good things I see in their lives and how they can use their gifts to do more in the Kingdom? Do my students know I have a vision for their lives and what it is?

Work Hard

The work of making great students starts with hard work. We youth leaders need to work harder and spend more time casting a vision for students’ lives and spending time with them one-on-one. We need to tell them what we see in them and what we see God doing in them. We need to be willing to be the bad guy. Never be afraid to tell students they are not living to their potential, if you don’t then who will? Telling students the truth is the start of making them great. Raising the bar of expectation for yourself and your students will put you on the path to greatness.


Challenge is a great tool that God has given us to help students mature in their faith. If you are not challenging your students you are failing them. I have never seen a great youth ministry where students are not being challenged. To shape and mold a student you need to place them on the anvil and pound their lives out. The Bible has a word for it: discipleship.

The Plan

Do you and or your youth staff have a plan for each student in your ministry? The truth is that having great events won’t make great students. To have great students you must cast a vision for each student that will lead him or her to maturity in Christ. Do you know the next step your students need to take to make it to the next level with Christ? If you don’t, prepare a plan so the next time you talk with “Joe Kid” in your group you will know how to challenge him.

Developing great students is never easy but I believe it’s our calling by God. Be honest with yourself–are your students good or are they great? Good students are apathetic towards Jesus and great ones need Jesus. Be committed to developing great students. Be focused on producing the next great generation for the Kingdom of God.

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