I love my youth leaders. I couldn’t ask for a better team. All of them are a joy to serve with. They sacrifice hours of their week to serve the youth. Some of them are even giving up time with their own wives and children to serve the youth. I am truly thankful for all the youth leaders, including the families who serve by supporting their spouse in being a youth leader. This is having an eternal impact for the glory of Jesus Christ!
Each of the youth leaders were not picked out of a hat. They are people who’ve proven to have a committed relationship with the Lord, to be sound in doctrine, to be actively serving within the local church, and to have all committed to the church through membership. To be a youth leader, not only did they need to be police checked, interviewed, possess references, pass doctrinal and character testing, every youth leader must also be a member of the church. Here are five reasons why:
1. Elder Approved
To be a member you must be interviewed and approved by the elders. This ensures that the person being interviewed can articulate the basics of the faith, is confronted in any habitual sin they may be living in, and that they’ve left their previous church in a way that honours Christ. Knowing that each of my youth leaders have been tested and approved by the elders gives me strong confidence that they’ll serve with integrity in the youth ministry.
2. Committed to the Local Church
Membership shows commitment to the church. This is important for the youth ministry because we aren’t trying to become a sub-church within the local church. Instead, we’re pointing the youth to becoming active members within the local church. Leaders who demonstrate commitment to the local church through membership are by example telling the youth that commitment to the local church matters in your relationship with Jesus Christ.
3. Youth Leading is a Big Role
Youth ministry is no joke. Heaven and hell are on the line. Jesus warned in Mark 9:42, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he was thrown into the sea.” Youth leaders have an influence on the lives of the youth. This can be rewarding or damning. Membership is a strong filter to ensure godliness in the leadership of the youth ministry.
4. Guarding Against Wolves
There are two kinds of wolves that can sneak into a youth ministry. Leaders or youth. Membership is a strong filter to guard against wolves sneaking into the leadership of the youth ministry. Membership is also a strong filter to have discerning youth leaders who can help guard against youth who are wolves.
5. Love for Parents and Youth
Next to God, there is no one who loves my children more than my wife and I. We want to do everything we can to raise our children in the fear of the Lord, so that we can launch them into the world to kick in the gates of hell. When parents drop their youth off to youth group, they should know that their youth is going to be taught God’s Word, called to repentance, and invited to turn to Jesus Christ. Sub-par, clown type youth leaders may provide a laugh for some youth. However, in the end those kind of youth leaders, will laugh youth right to hell. Out of love for the parents and their children, membership for youth leaders must be a minimum.
Some may ask, “hasn’t requiring membership for youth leaders made it more difficult to recruit?” It can. However, God hasn’t called me to build a program. God has called me to be faithful. As a result, it’s forced me to pray more fervently. God has heard my prayers and provided amazing youth leaders. God is the one who builds His Church. Let this encourage you as you serve Christ this day:
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
– Psalm 127:1