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5 Attitudes to Look for in Youth Workers

While certain youth ministry “skills” are good…when it comes to ministering to junior highers, a certain mindset, or attitude(s) is/are arguably much more important. Skills can be learned, but attitude is often something that can’t be taught. Give me an unskilled, but properly attitudinal team of adult volunteers any day!

Here are five attitudes that I think are toward the top of my list for junior high youth workers:

An attitude of OPTIMISM!

Adults who can see the best in a situation and believes that good things are always on the horizon is a big deal in junior high ministry. Ministering to young teens is undervalued, misunderstood, and draining. Pessimists need not apply!

An attitude of ENCOURAGEMENT!

Simply put: Young teens are dying for encouragement. They need a few extra cheerleaders in their lives.

An attitude of EMPATHY!

While things like a new pimple, getting dumped by our girlfriend of two days, and wearing the exact same top as your best friend to the school dance may seem small…almost laughable…to us; they are a BIG deal to our junior highers. Junior highers need adults in their lives who truly “feel their pain” and want to walk alongside them as they navigate the many ups and downs, highs and lows, twists and turns of their journey through early adolescence.

An Attitude of GRACE!

Very few people will try your patience like a junior higher. Junior highers will grate on even the steadiest of nerves. They will make the same foolish mistakes again and again and again. They need to be surrounded by grace giving adults.

An Attitude of PERSEVERANCE!

Don’t give up. Your current junior highers need you…and so do the ones who will follow in their footsteps.

What attitudes would you include if you were making your own list?

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Kurt Johnston has been involved in junior high ministry since 1988 and is currently the junior high pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry and Go Team! He loves providing resources for junior high ministry almost as much as he loves junior highers themselves.