New Youth Leader “Crash Course”

Studying the Bible with Youth

Best practices for new youth workers and volunteers.

So I’m a Youth Group Leader… Now What?

Perhaps you said yes to being a youth group worker or volunteer because you have vast experience in this area. Perhaps you said yes because you felt an inner tug on your spirit to work with young people. Or… perhaps you said yes because your minister was desperate, and you didn’t feel you could say no. The following short videos and reflective questions are meant to accompany you wherever you are on this journey. These videos touch on important topics for those working with youth but are just the tip of the iceberg and by no means cover everything you will encounter or want to know. We hope these videos will start you on your way and be beneficial for your spirit and for your preparation.

A caveat: In attempting to make a “crash course,” there was much valuable content that is not included. Please see the following links for more information on two important areas and explore our website for other topics and resources:

Remembering the Importance of Youth Ministry, Kenda Creasy Dean

  • Reflective question: What might I have to contribute to the lives of the young people under my care? (Editorial note: If the answer is “I don’t know yet,” that’s very appropriate!)

The Importance of Vision in Starting a Youth Ministry, Jorge Gonzalez 

  • Reflective question: Do I know why I’m doing this work? What is my vision—my hopes and dreams—for doing this kind of work?

Putting Vision into Practice, Skip Masback 

  • Reflective question: How are we being welcoming of youth all across spectrum of spiritual needs and interests?

Helping Youth Find Their Voice, Almeda Wright 

  • Reflective questions: How are we helping youth discover their own voice and contributions? How are we helping them be leaders in their youth group, in the Church, and in the world?

Helping Youth Tell Their Stories, Andy Root

  • Reflective question: How are we modeling story-telling for youth, such that youth become “meaning-makers,” and are able to tell their stories of faith and life to one another?

Listening to Young People, Mary Elizabeth Moore 

  • Reflective questions: How are we doing at listening to my youth? How open are we being to young people? And what are we modeling as we engage in this practice?

Removing the Stigma of Mental Illness, Nadja Reilly 

  • Reflective question: How prepared do I feel to address issues of mental health with young people?

Adolescent Depression, Chris Russell

  • Reflective question: How can we accompany young people, and embody hope for them as they struggle with mental health concerns?

 Conversations About Race, Opportunities and Challenges, Christopher Carter and Seth Schoen

  • Reflective question: How prepared are we to have these conversations with youth? How is it rooted in our sense of identity as Christians to engage in the hard work of justice?

 Showing Not Telling, and How to Update Our Language, Phiwa Langeni

  • Reflective question: What language do we use, with an LGBTQ+ community in mind?


Yale Youth Ministry Institute