Tips for Youth Leaders

1. Meet regularly as a youth leadership team for training, prayer and fellowship.

2. Make sure you set aside some time to read books about youth ministry (see Resources).

3. Take a first aid course and encourage other helpers to do the same.

4. Make sure you keep yourself fully aware of your child protection policy and follow it.

5. Take your youth work team on a retreat day. Plan, dream and build relationship together.

6. Feedback to your church about the work you’re doing and how young people are getting on. Maybe ask some young people to write a short article for the church magazine.

7. Invest in your personal growth and development. Go on a youth ministry training event every year.

8. Keep a youth work journal. Every week make a note of what you have done, how it went and your reflections on it. Describe contacts with young people and reflect on each one. Organise your thoughts and document important events.

9. If your group is very small why not join with another local group. It is good to work with other denominations.

10. Always preview anything you plan to screen at a youth meeting. Always make sure you have heard guest speakers before you involve them at the youth group.

11. Encourage young people's insights and suggestions. Let them know that their involvement is vital.

12. Always make sure young people know you are available. Don’t give the impression that you don’t have time for them.

13. Prioritise learning the names of young people. It makes them feel valued and special.

14. Get to know the names of the parents of your youth group members.

15. Put on a meal for parents of the young people you work with. Give the young people the task of organising it and serving their parents.

16. Try and find ways to keep parents fully informed of youth group activities. Send out newsletters or postcards; perhaps hold a meeting every now and again to ensure that lines of communication are healthy.

17. Facilitate a discussion evening for parents who might need to talk about their experiences of parenting teenagers. Many parents find it difficult to handle teenage behaviour and value the support of others around them.

18. Use personal experiences as illustrations when you speak. Young people get to know you a little better and you will come across as honest and approachable.

19. Create brochures about the youth work you do and make it available to parents, church members and others in the community involved with young people. Include times, locations, descriptions and photos (with permission).

20. Invite your vicar or minister to join in with your youth meeting. It will provide him/her with an opportunity to see what you do and allows the young people to meet them.

21. Consider planning after school clubs or working in partnership with local schools to help them with their after school provision.

22. Have a BBQ with good quality burgers. BBQ’d bananas stuffed with Rolos make a great dessert.

23. Challenge the young people to write and direct a movie. Film it and show it at a movie night (obtain parental permission beforehand).

24. Use TV - discuss the programmes young people watch and use the themes or issues they raise to help young people think about their outlook, attitudes and behaviour.

25. Try to plan a residential weekend away for young people. They tend to have a hugely positive impact on young people and adult leaders alike.

26. Create an emergency box containing games, discussion starters, a talk, a Bible and a Bible study. You never know when it might come in handy.

27. Always plan in several social events per term. Give yourself space to interact and build relationships with young people.

28. Find out about local agencies, organisations and churches which operate in your area and make a list of the provisions they make for young people. Consider how you could use them.

29. Why not serve healthy snacks and drinks instead of having a tuck shop. You could make fruit kebabs or serve home-made smoothies.

30. Get young people teaching IT to others in the congregation e.g. How to put together a short video presentation or how to download music or video clips from the internet.

31. Organise a meeting where some of the older members of the congregation talk about their lives as teenagers and get young people involved in comparing it to today.

32. Arrange for other members of the congregation to bake for the youth meetings.

33. Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or council for details of volunteering projects for young people to get involved with during the holidays.

34. Arrange a session where young people bring in their favourite songs and talk about the lyrics.

35. Contact the chaplain of a local prison to see if you can take a small group of young people to visit.

36. Collect interesting images, newspaper articles, postcards etc. to use as discussion starters.

37. Serve non-alcoholic cocktails complete with matchstick umbrellas.

38. Take young people to Genetik sessions (Visit www.genetik.org.uk)

39. Enter a team into the Ambassadors in Sport football league (Visit www.aisint.org/offices/manchester.php)

40. Visit Grumpy's resources warehouse (Visit www.grumpy.org.uk).