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Should Recent Graduates Serve in Youth Ministry?

Its that time of year again when the search and courting process begins with potential new leaders for next fall. Its an exciting and time consuming process and depending on where things are at in your church, the pool of leaders might be vast and deep, or perhaps you are in a place where its slim pickin’s. But at some point we each have to make the decision regarding the starting age of volunteers. There are several schools of thought around this issue with some like myself, taking on leaders right out of high school and others requiring that leaders be out of the program at least two years. I became a leader when I was 18 and had been a Christian for a year, so my bias is obvious here.

I thought it would be good to hear from the MTDB community and hear what your experiences are around this issue. As someone who takes leaders right out of high school I know first hand there are pros and cons and here are the ones that I have experienced in the past few years.

Pros:

  • They are typically are people that have been consistent attenders in HS and now have little difficulty committing to being there each week.
  • They have the DNA of the group, they get the vision, know what happens and understand the culture
  • They are familiar faces and often thrive sooner in leading the younger students who have seen them around before
  • They have energy, passion and a desire to lead and be led.
  • You have time to groom them in their senior year as opposed to starting in Sept.

Cons:

  • Often have trouble shifting from student mode to leader mode or revert back without knowing it.
  • Can be very idealistic and want to change things and challenge decisions with out knowing the reason for them.
  • They have friends still in HS and can get caught up in HS life and drama easily
  • Ability to commit wanes, as they understand the commitment school or work requires.
  • Spiritually young, and lack the knowledge of how to lead / disciple another student.
  • Sometimes make poor choices due to lack of maturity with little realization of the impact it has on students.

So where do you stand on this? What is your policy and why is it that way?