When I run training programs for new youth leaders this is how I wrap up:
The most important thing that I will say to you all day is this:
After all is said and done, the top priority for any youth group leader or youth pastor is to love the youth. Love each and every youth that comes through the door of your events whether they be the happy, perky, and sweet 10th grade girl or the sullen 8th grade boy whom you can rarely get to participate. Whether it be the 7th grade cool kid who frequently pipes up with “Do we have to do the God stuff?” or the gung-ho hands on 6th grader who can’t wait to get started helping people but also can’t sit still to save his life. Whether it be the quiet 12th grader whose parents forced him to attend or the gangly 9th grader who loves to be there because it is the only group that will let her in… Love them – Love them all – because it is your love for them that will be the most profound gospel message that they will ever learn from you regardless of games and projects, videos and scripture lessons. They will know you are Christian by your love – and they will learn to love God and (I think more importantly) be loved by God by your example.