The next step of training for youth ministry provided by Awana’s 24-7 Ministries is called “Now What?” It follows the “Who Me?” training from last year. Now What takes you to the next level of training and provides more practical ideas for working with 6th – 12th graders. It goes further into the 5 roles of a youth leader (Shepherd, Preacher, Cultural Expert, CEO and leader).
One of the videos provided that is a “must see” is the one that talks about us (as leaders) being authentic. Our authenticity is what is ging to have the greatest impact on the youth in our care.
Like most youth ministry resources, it does seem to focus on a “larger” youth group and full-time, paid, youth leaders. The discussion on the DVD between Kevin and two youth pastors is in general very good and informative, but it lacks (from my view) real guidance and encouragement for those leaders who work full-time secular jobs and then volunteer to lead the youth in the church. There is a vast difference between those who are blessed to serve full-time focused solely on youth and those who give of their all in the few hours they have to offer each week with a smaller group. I think it would have been good to have had a volunteer serving in their spare time on the panel to discuss reaching youth and serving as a leader. Yes, Kevin does make a valiant attempt at addressing the youth leader with a secular full-time job and the small youth group with just a hand full of teens and the youth pastors express how they’d long for that, but they are looking at it through their view of having all day to plan and build relationships, which doesn’t exist in the small group scenario with a volunteer leader. The one youth pastor also relates the volunteer leader as a support person in his ministry as opposed to one who is leading the ministry. Again, a vast difference.
So, I would highly recommend this resource for anyone serving in youth ministry, in whatever role. The base guidance it offers is sound. The answer to the volunteer youth leader… seek support, encouragement, and partner where possible with others in similar small group ministries. If God blesses you in ministry and you are able to be full-time somewhere, never forget your roots and the small group dynamic and struggles. Then maybe you can be an encouragement to others.