youth ministry, youth worker, readiness

Readiness To Change Factors

By Doug Franklin April 1, 2013

As youth workers we are in the transformation business, or I might say we focus on making change happen. We are charged with helping students move from immaturity to maturity. We want our students to become self feeders, spiritually speaking. So we speak, run fun activities, develop small groups and build relationships so we can share truth from scripture. Some youth workers do all these programs and see little to no changes in students. Students have a great time and love the youth worker but everything remains the same. Really special youth workers have the ability to cause change in the lives of students, parents and the adult volunteers. They are able to get to the heart, teach, mentor and inspire others to make permanent changes in their lives. So what is their secret? Why are some youth workers able to make change happen and others are not? I think for some it comes naturally and for others they have to work at it. For me it never came easy but once I learned that real change was what ministry was about, I started studying why and how students change. Because LeaderTreks is a leadership development organization, we focus our attention on how to help students make real changes in their lives. A few years ago we started using the “Readiness to Change Factors” we see in students’ lives to identify who was ready to change. These factors are attitude, awareness and accountability. The definition of these factors follow:

Loving God and wanting to emulate his character in your thoughts and actions.

Accurately identifying your character strengths and areas needing further development.

Seeking feedback from others on matters of character and acting on it.

When students embrace these factors we find they are ready to make some real changes in their lives. So we focus on developing these characteristics in students. We challenge their attitude about a relationship with God. We help them “know themselves” so they are aware of their strengths and we use positive evaluation to help them desire accountability.

Instead of running programs with the goal of everyone enjoying themselves and getting home safe, we use programs to determine who is developing these factors. When we see students with an attitude of loving God we challenge them to change their thought life or encourage them to serve other students in new ways. We know from experience that they will be ready for this kind of challenge. When we see a student in the process of making tough choices we challenge them to consider how God has made them and what choice would fit best with who they are. We celebrate with them how special God has made them. We challenge them to serve God using their special gifts and abilities. We teach evaluation as a way of life, to consistently ask, “is there a better way?” We know that when a community is working together everyone grows.

Think about your students: do you see some of these factors in their lives? If you do challenge them to grow and make changes in their lives. If you don’t work to develop these characteristics in their lives. These success factors are the secret to seeing real change happen in students’ lives.

By the way, we have a student assessment for these factors; it’s called Building Character and it’s available on our website.

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