When I ask you “What makes a great youth leader?”, what do you think of? Most adults would say: young, extroverted, and high energy. That’s the stereotypical youth leader. But do students agree?
To find out, I asked several of our students that question. And what students want in a leader and the stereotype couldn’t be further apart. Students don’t care if a leader is young or old. Students don’t care if a leader has no kids or grandkids. Students don’t care if a leader is outgoing or introverted. Here are the two main characteristics students value in their leaders:
Great youth leaders seek to build relationships.
- One sophomore girl said she loves how her leaders “plan get-togethers outside of church” and “make food for us.”
- A freshmen boy loves how his leaders “visit some of our sporting events and plays.”
- A senior girl shared how one of her leaders “meets with me one-on-one” and “shares prayer requests and struggles with her.”
- One senior boy shared how his leader would “meet up with me on the weekends and share what we had learned either in life or from the Bible.”
- One freshmen boy noted how his leaders “all sacrifice something” to build relationships with him and his peers.
- Similarly, a junior boy noted how his leaders “make time for our group, even with a busy schedule.”
Great youth leaders seek to talk about spiritual things.
- A freshmen boy mentioned how his leaders “ask us what we are struggling with.”
- Another freshmen boy noted how his leaders are “helping to prepare them to become men of God.”
- A sophomore boy loves that his leader “knows how to get into the Word and make it deep.”
- A senior boy loves that his leader is “open and shows how everyone struggles with sin.”
- One junior boy who was teaching his small group that week loved that one of his leaders “helped me structure the lesson and facilitate discussing.”
- One junior girl has noticed a leader that’s “always ready to pray with me.”
It’s pretty simple. Would you love spending time to build relationships with students? Would you love talking about God and the gospel with students? You too could be a great volunteer youth leader!