According to Barna Research, 59 percent of 18 to 29-year olds drop out of attending church despite going regularly during their early teen years.
That’s a staggering bit of research with very telling information. An important part of our family ministry, the youth, will walk away from their church foundation. What’s the take away? We need youth leaders that understand that they may have a small window of time to impact young lives. Here’s how improving your youth leadership training could help your church achieve that goal.
Possible Goals for Youth Leadership Training
Prepare youth leaders to provide biblical solutions for the challenges presented by modern teen culture. Teens today face complex, personal issues like prescription medication addictions, cutting and alternate lifestyle choices. Does your youth leadership know how to minister to teens in these areas? Targeted training could build their confidence and provide guidance to these crucial church leaders.
Teach leaders to find new leaders. The key to reversing Barna’s recent report may be to empower teenagers to become leaders themselves. Your current leadership can’t feel threatened by the incoming surge of leadership; it needs to be a burning vision for the entire team.
Recognize individual gifts. Every teen leader should know how to lead prayer or a Bible study but not everyone is a singer. The best youth leadership training takes your group’s individual gifts and talents into consideration. If a leader isn’t sure what he has to offer, a coach or mentor could help him discern his gifts.
What Should Youth Leadership Training Include?
Thinking of promoting members of the youth group into leadership roles? This kind of growth in an organization is exciting but it is crucial that the youth leadership training that you offer meet the group’s needs. A good leadership training program teaches potential leaders how to manage their time wisely, how to work with a team and how to meet expected goals. If you have decided to offer this type of management training, consider including information on these important topics.
Understanding the Adult Perspective
Young leaders need to see the big picture if they want to lead. Teen leaders should bridge the gap between other teens and adults. They should inspire and encourage but also be the voice of reason when adults aren’t around. For example, “Yes! I’d love to toss that volleyball around but let’s take it outside.” Young leaders must have mature thinking and may need training in this area.
Youth Leaders Need to Communicate
Teach those young leaders how to listen and speak. Effective leaders must learn how to participate in active listening. That means listening, asking questions and listening again. A teen leader needs to be able to give a speech or at least address a crowd in a thoughtful way.
Enhance Conflict Resolution Skills
Charisma isn’t always enough to diffuse conflict. Teach your group how to resolve conflict by leading diverse groups and understanding different viewpoints. Leadership skills should include diffusing heated situations, navigating conflict and reconciling different parties.
Teach Young Leaders How to Self-Evaluate
The leader who knows how to administer self-evaluation honestly won’t have any growth limitations. Teach youth how to determine their leadership style, how to improve it and recognize what their weaknesses may be.
Goal Setting and Tracking
If you aren’t setting goals and reaching for them, well, you may not be a leader. Managers of all ages need to know how set a meaningful goal and develop a plan for achieving it.