Choosing youth workers for your youth ministry team should not be taken lightly. Our youth deserve the very best and to have well educated, loving adults as their mentors. Your youth ministry team should consist of people who:
- Regularly participate in the Liturgical Cycle of the Church
- Regularly partake of the Sacraments
- Are willing to devote the time needed to make the program work
- Are willing to gain more education about their faith and youth work
- Are good Orthodox Christian role models
- Are energetic and positive
- Are mature, reliable and hardworking
- Enjoy spending time with children and teenagers and will take the time to get to know them
Take the time to search out people with these qualities. Try not to force someone into the position who may not have the talents, time or interest. This will only result in your program not getting off of the ground, not improving and doing a disservice to the person that has taken on the position.
Positions on a youth ministry team may include:
- Youth Minister (youth group leader)
- Church School Administrator(s)
- Jr UOL Advisors
- Young Adults
- Parish Elders
- Youth Representative (Jr UOL President)
- These are only a few possibilities
In addition to your team members, additional volunteers may be cultivated as sub-committee members, chaperones, drivers, teachers, etc. Our parish family can all play a role in the raising and upbringing of our youth in the Lord!
Ensure that you set up your youth workers for success! Give them needed resources (monetary, supplies, etc) to properly conduct the ministry. One key element is to ensure that they receive the proper training to feel secure and confident in what they are being asked to do. Training may be provided in a variety of ways:
- ST. Sophia Youth Ministry Certification Course
- Workshops with the Office of Youth Ministry Director
- Online training from various Orthodox ministries such as the GOA Center for Family Care, the Orthodox Youth Directors in North America or Orthodox Christian Fellowship
- Provide a library of resources
A list of expectations from you should be given to the youth minister/youth ministry team from the beginning. These expectations would include timelines, report due dates, request for a yearly program outline, and your expectations concerning time and commitment. You could discuss this with the person/people in consideration, so as to make the expectations realistic.
If your youth minister is a paid position, a list of expectations and guidelines should be given to them prior to the start of their work for you. Spiritual Fathers should set up a regular time to meet with them to discuss ideas and progress.
You need to look into your state’s requirements for background clearances for volunteer and paid youth workers. These requirements should be met for the safety of your children, youth workers and your parish.
The men and women who fill these positions will need your love, guidance and support. Please take the time to nurture their vocation and in turn they will nurture our children.
Additional Forms may be found on the Youth Protection Page
Resources from Orthodox Organizations
Jr Ukrainian Orthodox League
International Orthodox Christian Charities
- Emergency Kits Program - http://www.iocc.org/giftsofheart.aspx
- Prayer Journals - http://www.iocc.org/kidsmap_frameset.aspx
Orthodox Christian Mission Center
- Mission Coin Box Program - http://www.ocmc.org/resources/sunday_schools.aspx
- Lessons - http://www.ocmc.org/resources/sunday_schools.aspx
- Hunger Strike - http://www.ochungerstrike.org/
YES – Youth Equipped to Serve http://www.focusnorthamerica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=84&Itemid=176
- The Purpose of the program is to encourage our youth to live out their faith through service to others YES provides opportunities for youth to get involved with outreach at different levels and help them grow into positions of student leadership.
- Ten-day summer vocation exploration program designed to help students discern their life callings.
Orthodox School Association
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America Youth Department
- Sessions and Retreats (ages 5-18)
- Orthodox Christian Teen Survival Guides (excellent, short discussion starters)
- Teen Video Series
- Joy and Goya Curriculum
- Youth Worker Pulse
- Saints Alive!
- Be the Bee
- The Trench
- Printable and on-line studies for teenagers/young adults. Podcasts for teenagers and young adults
Orthodox Church in America Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry
- Leader Information
- Youth Activities and Retreats
- Study Units and Guides
- Saints You Missed in Sunday School
Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America Youth Department
- PVC – Purity, Virginity, Chastity – curriculum
- Great Friday Vigil
- Let Us Attend! – weekly children’s on-line Gospel (partnered with Ancient Faith Radio)
Former Director of Religious Education – Greek Metropolis of Pittsburgh
- Resources for Orthodox Christian Educators