youth ministry, youth worker, intervention

The Intervention Leadership Principle

By Doug Franklin January 23, 2013

As youth workers we face many leadership challenges. I think one of the greatest challenges is being a person of intervention. As youth workers we intervene in the lives of students. Pushing them to change their behavior, focus and faith. We often challenge students to rethink their value system, how they think about sex, drugs, materialism, relationships and family. We stand-up against the world’s thinking and ask students to commit to sacrificing for the glory of God. We take the message of Jesus, and beg students to pick up a cross and follow him. You can’t be a person of intervention if you don’t have deep convictions. If you got into youth ministry because you wanted students to “like” you intervention won’t be in your playbook. You will have to have hard conversations with students and you will have to be OK if they mock you and reject your message. But that is not all the intervention you will have to do if your in youth ministry.

You will also need to intervene in families. Partnering with parents means you may need to challenge them with hard truth. When I was a youth pastor, I had a dad once ask me to speak to his student who had left the house late at night to be with his girlfriend. The student had disobeyed his parents and was in the wrong but the dad had laid out some rules that were way overboard and were pushing the son in the wrong direction. After confronting the student and getting him to apologize to his parents, I asked the dad if we could talk and I gently discussed with him other ways to deal with his son that might not drive the son away. Thankfully, the dad listened and really good things came of the father and son’s relationship. To be honest, when I talked with the dad I was scared. I was also sure if I didn’t raise my voice the dad was in for more heartache. Intervention with people who are older than us can be really hard but just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you should back away.

Here as some tips on being a leader who intervenes:

Pray for wisdom
In the book of James it says, we can ask for wisdom and God will give it to us. So if God is passing out wisdom I will take it. Wisdom is the key to being good at intervention. We need to be graceful while telling the truth.

Look at your own life
You need to be walking the talk before you challenge others. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. If you are living near to God you will be good at intervention.

Know what God cares about
When you care about what he cares about, intervention is powerful. God cares about the broken, the ones who don’t know him and about injustice. Focus on those truths and you will see opportunities to intervene and you will see God’s power working through you.

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