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Common Mistakes Made By Youth Leaders

Seriously who sets out to make mistakes in ministry? You're eager and come up with a-lot of plans to make your mark on this world. I am here to tell you that even though these mistakes happen, there is a way to recover and move forward into greatness.

I'm here to be transparent, can I be that with you?

My mistake was going after the hard catch and letting the easy catch get out of the boat. I spent so much time on the ones that didn't want to be there until I neglected the ones that were eager and excited. I had to find a balance and once I found it, it was on and "popping" Here's some help to make sure you won't run into the same situation.

Tyrone was a gifted dancer when he came to the organization. His mom was telling me stories of how he would get in trouble on a daily basis at school due to always up dancing or being what she calls "the class clown". Once reprimanded he would go into a spiral of emotions ranging from hate, anger to combative. I was determined to "Catch this Marlin"

Mistake #1

Spending too much time going after the hard catch.

It takes 4 hours for a fisherman to catch a Marlin. Lots of hard work and plenty of time and effort. Brim is already in the shallow water, throw out the bait, hook and a line and the Brim

comes right in.

When dealing with difficult students you have to make sure you stay focused on the ones that are already situated and ready to learn more about Jesus. Here's some tips on dealing with the "Hard Catch"

  • Time management ( Make sure that the time you spend going after the Marlin is intentional time)

  • Outsourcing ( calling in reinforcements, someone that God will lead to you, to deal with that particular student)

  • Staying focus (on growth and nurturing of the ones that are already caught).

Tyrone's mom wanted him to become a part of the Experience. And I was eager to allow him to come in. Tyrone came two times and then the next rehearsal he wasn't there. After speaking with his mother she explained that he wasn't interested and that she didn't have the time to get him there.

Mistake #2

Not partnering with the parents.

Setting some time to meet with each parent in your student ministry is a great way to start a partnership. Use this time to make it clear what your expectations are and how they will pertain to the development of their student. Also have the parent make it clear what their expectations are concerning the student ministry.

Also here's some other suggestions:

  • Consider asking parents to volunteer

  • Have weekly check ins with the parents

  • Have a monthly or quarterly parent meeting

When doing Student Ministry there are a lot of mistakes that you may make, but I am here to tell you that you can recover from them. Being a Student Ministry leader takes patience, kindness and unconditional love. Learn from your mistakes and keep growing the kingdom of God!


Pastor Derwin R. Jackson, Sr. Derwin R. Jackson Sr. has been in the business of youth for over 30 years, holding positions with the Boys and Girls Clubs, being a DARE officer for the GBI, and holding positions as a Youth Director for various organizations his life is dedicated to serving our youth and helping others to understand the importance of youth in this world.

It is so easy to ignore our youth today. Most of them will act out in negative ways to just get the attention of parents, friends, etc. Youth are looking for consistency, genuine love, and stability.

We are here to help Pastors and Youth Directors build thriving and exciting Student Ministries. We have proven success throughout the community.

What are some mistakes you believe you've made as a youth leader?

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  • Write an answer

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