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New youth leader, need advice!

Discussion in 'Children and Youth Ministry' started by NeedtoSurrender98, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. NeedtoSurrender98

    NeedtoSurrender98 New Member

    A couple months ago, at the end of my senior year, I was asked to train to be a youth leader. I have two months of shadowing other youth leaders left before its official, and I'm terrified I don't have what it takes. I've grown up with social anxiety-I naturally repress whenever there are people around-as well as general anxiety-in both high pressure moments and moderately challenging situations I would more likely panic and not be able to think straight. A frustrating thing I've found is that when a kid has a question I can't speak and won't know the answer until hours later, when the moment's over and I have had time to think about it without the fear that what I'm going to say is wrong or unhelpful. I feel that it might be inside of me, but that there's just something in the way and it drives me crazy. I'm also not accustomed to sharing God in public, let alone discipling others. It's something that I've been convicted about for a while, but I have no idea how to go about it without failing awkwardly. Furthermore, I'm having a hard time feeling like an adult. Months ago, I was in the youth group myself, and was interested in a guy that was a grade younger than me, and suddenly I'm 18 and am on a completely different path with different responsibilities and expectations, and interacting with him in a romantic way would no longer be appropriate; I also am expected to fill a mentor role with individuals that were once my peers or even people I felt I wasn't good enough for. I've felt called to ministry since I was 13, but all of these failures are making me feel like I may be useless after all. Any advice?
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  2. A sojourner in Christ

    A sojourner in Christ Disciple of Lord Jesus Christ

    You aren't alone, I too suffer from social anxiety. I've hard time communicating with people, unable to remember words while having conversation with people and after long time I realize what could have said better but it's usually late. Imperfections are key to perfections and you have opportunity to improve it. It's my advice that you try foremost to improve your communication skills then enroll as youth leader but even as a youth leader you can use it to face and defeat fear that resides within. Believe me--dont bother what someone else would say because you are there not to please men but God. Recite~Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me, a Sinner and remember: Don't be afraid!
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  3. HoleyHermit

    HoleyHermit Member

    United States
    Throw yourself in. Pray. See how it goes. We don't need all leaders to be extroverts. Thinking about answers is generally a good thing. You're over 18. 18 is the new 50. Sorry.
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  4. Adstar

    Adstar Well-Known Member

    Easy solution.. You answer with ""Thats a very good question and i am going to have to go and look into it to see if i can find the answer, remind me next week and if i have found the answer i will be sure to give it to you"" ... No need for panic.. We do not need to be able to give an answer right away.. And it is ok to say ""I don't know"" if we are trully stuck on a question that we do not have an answer for..

    Nothing wrong with failing.. If God has not called us to do a certain job in the body of Christ, i am sure He will make sure we fail badly if we take that job..

    Maybe in the future you will searve God in some way.. But maybe He wants you to be 28 before you start serving Him in that particular way.. Or maybe He wants you to serve Him in another way all together... God knows :)
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  5. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    It sounds to me like you have lots of potential, but you haven't had a lot of preparation/equipping for the role. Shadowing others in ministry is good, but it's not the whole deal.

    What are your plans for the next phase in your life? Are you planning further study, looking for work? I'd say how you serve in your church will be shaped in part by what else is going on in your life.

    But it's okay to say, "I really don't feel ready to do this. I'd like some more solid preparation. Can you help me think about how to do that?" It might be that you do some reading and learning, or that you and some other leaders set up some peer support, or that you find a mentor or spiritual director, or... you get the point. There are lots of possibilities. You don't have to be pushed into anything you don't feel right about. :)
  6. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Unworthy servant of God Supporter

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    A few comments.

    1. A sense of inadequacy can be helpful to keep you humble and remind you to rely on God and inHis strength, rather than your own. Think of David and Goliath; think of the poor rural girl Mary who became the mother of our Lord; think of the twelve apostles...uneducated, full of faults, yet who spread the Word around the world.

    2. Being a mentor does not always mean knowing the answer and showing the way. It means simply walking the path with your mentee, showing a good example, sharing their questions and doubts, and seeking out the answers together. You are not, nor should you have the expectation of being, omniscient. My take on mentoring is summed up in a quote from CS Lewis -
    Think of me as a fellow patient in the same hospital who, having been admitted a little earlier could give some advice.

    3. It would be absolutely and completely inappropriate to have any kind of romantic interaction with a member of your Youth Group, and could potentially lead to legal troubles as well as the moral ones. Don't do it. Don't even think about it.

    4. You will only fail awkwardly if you think and act like you are the one doing it. Let God use you, and remember that you are on the path to discipleship as well...maybe a few steps ahead of your group, but still on the path. Use discussion as a tool, rather than simply lecture or preaching. Teens want someone who genuinely cares for them and can see through hypocrisy and bluffing. Don't pretend to know what you don't, but seek the answers toegether with them. They have minds, intelligence and experiences that can be valuable. But more importantly, model discipleship for them, reflect Christ's love to them through your actions, and care for them.

    5. When you don't have an answer, put it up for discussion, but also get to know God's Word better, so that sometimes it will be obvious.

    6. God used my youth group to help get me through anxiety about social situations. He may do the same for you.

    7. Seek help from others in ministry at your church. You're not doing this alone.

    8. I'll pray for you. Youth ministry is rewarding, but tough. God bless you.
  7. NJBeliever

    NJBeliever Newbie

    What is your Bible study/prayer regimen?