A number of years ago, William Hurtado co-authored a book entitled Seven Principles for Youth Ministry Excellence. The first edition was Published by AdventSource in 1999 (www.adventsource.org). In 2007, AdventSource and the Center for Youth Evangelism revamped the content and changed the co-author’s name to a different name.
The Seven Principles for Youth Ministry Excellence are time-tested markers for ministry effectiveness. Not only are they effective for leading young people through youth ministry, but also through parenting.
1. Grow Spiritually – Effective youth leaders seek God first and foremost, surrendering their plans and visions to His will.
2. Learn Leadership Skills – Effective youth leaders are learners. They never stop soaking in new information that builds their characters and develops their skills to accomplish God’s work.
3. Nurture Relationships – Effective youth leaders understand the value of one-on-one relationships. They find ways to connect with kids and their families, ministering to their needs.
4. Plan – Effective youth leaders think about and plan their calendar, budget, and programs that help them share the gospel message.
5. Empower for Leadership – Effective youth leaders are not lone rangers. And they don’t care who takes the credit. They team-up with friends and church family to help them develop a strong ministry that reaches far and wide in ministering to student’s lives.
6. Communicate – Effective youth leaders seek God’s help in developing networking skills, through phone calls, the internet, or whatever means possible to get the word out and to bring kids into their program.
7. Mobilize for Service – Effective youth leaders are constantly going to the next level, drawing kids outside of their shells and helping them fulfill the Great Commission.
If you have been in the youth ministry trenches for any amount of time, you will know that implementing these seven principles at the same time is can become an impossible juggling act. That’s why these principles are not so much behavioral objectives as they are internal values that with time help guide your thinking and ministry. No one can do ministry perfectly! But with a clear understanding of what makes ministry work, one can learn to naturally be effective in ministry.
William Hurtado, through his local church youth ministry, continues to train groups on youth ministry excellence.