What Makes a Healthy Youth Worker?

What makes a healthy youth worker?

A healthy youth worker is a healthy person… and a healthy person puts boundaries around 3 things that adolescents look for in a youth worker:

Authentic – being able to be volunerable enough to lead young people to maturity in Christ and unity with one another. It isn’t about venting your personal struggles, frustrations, or anger at teens… Ephesians 4:29 is a good filter of what it means to be authentic to teens.

Acceptance – being able to speak truth in love. So many times, we either speak to teens with truth and no grace which leads to legalism (rejection) or all grace and no truth which leads to hedonism (do whatever you want). There needs to be youth workers that love teens enough to share truth with love and firmness.

Availability – having a open schedule to spend time with teens... with purpose. Teens can smell a fake… they will know if you care enough to invest in them or not. At the same time, build boundaries around your time schedule or they will take over. Build a 21 hour grid schedule (if you want details on this schedule template, let me know).


Discussions with Marv Penner, the Canadian President of Youth Specialities and Coordinator of the Canadian Youth Workers Conference.