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A discussion, using a study from 1 Peter, to develop leadership within a youth ministry setting

A discussion, using a study from 1 Peter, to develop leadership within a youth ministry setting.



The development of a leadership team is essential in youth ministries. A majority of problems come from a weakness in this step. We have outlined nine stages of youth ministry:

    • Building a support team.
      • Rapport with bishop and/or pastor, or with area/regional director.
      • Building a supportive adult committee (board).
      • Recruiting, training, and supervising a leadership team.
    • Research: community and topical.
    • Contact work or hanging out with young people on their turf.
    • Trips and activities (and so forth).

Studies in the first epistle of Peter will help at all three levels of building a support team, but here we will concentrate especially on the third point, the leadership team that works directly with young people. It is important that the members of this team:

    • Are attracted and loyal to you as their leader.
    • Are people who are attractive to, and concerned about, and able to lead young people.
    • Represent appropriate diversity of gender, age, and ethnicity.
    • Include a broad range of skills for ministry (music, counseling, camping, etc.).

Your job is to model effective, relational youth ministry for these leaders. You must get to know and spend time with each personally. As with Jesus and the Twelve, you are choosing them to be with you, to learn about young people, and to develop skills and the power to serve their young friends. They will learn by imitating, then innovating-trying it out on their own-and by some reading and study. By the end of a year or so, they should be able to do it all if you are taken away for a while. You are always working yourself out of a job.

Your team members are volunteers and, as such, deserve a job title and clear written job description. This job description should satisfy their own personal goals for growth as well as what needs to be done in this ministry. Each member needs personal supervision and supportive team meetings. Their reward is being with you and each other, growing personally, and developing leadership and ministerial skills. The opportunity to be with young people and serve them is also a great reward in itself, and finally, there is the satisfaction of serving Jesus Christ.

A top loyalty of the youth director is to his or her staff or team. In many ways, the success of a ministry is determined by the quality of team life, relationships, and growth. A study of 1 Peter can be helpful and rewarding.


Though not undisputed, we will take the author to be the leader of the first Christian church, the Apostle Peter, as stated in the opening verse. It may have been written on a visit of Peter to Rome (a likely interpretation of "Babylon" in 5:13)-probably in the mid-60s AD. It was written to encourage a persecuted and scattered church, including new Gentile converts, and its theme may be taken as "grace, or salvation, in times of suffering."

Because most youth ministry teams are young and often going through hard times, or at least difficult challenges, the study of this book can provide helpful spiritual and practical lessons and principles.


The high calling of Christian life and (youth) ministry. 1 Peter 1:1-2:10
Characteristics and examples of servant leadership. 1 Peter 2:11-3:7
Living and growing together as a team. 1 Peter 3:8-12
Experiencing and enduring individual criticism and suffering. 1 Peter 3:13-4:6
Community life as a team. 1 Peter 4:7-11
An eschatological community. 1 Peter 4:7
A loving community. 1 Peter 4:8
A community of hospitality. 1 Peter 4:9
A serving community. 1 Peter 4:10-11
Suffering as discipline in the growth of Christian teams. 1 Peter 4:12-19
Leadership of the team. 1 Peter 5:1-11
Final prayers for the team. 1 Peter 5:12-14





This study might be the way you conduct the first half hour of your leadership meetings for six weeks or so. There are a number of helpful commentaries on the first epistle of Peter. You will also want to check out books to help you understand the dynamics of a leadership team. For instance, you might check out:

    • Burns, J. (1988). The youth builder. (chs. 11,13). Harvest House.
    • Keefauver, L. (1984). Starting a youth ministry. (ch. 3). Group.
    • Rice, W. & Clark, C. (1998). New directions in youth ministry.
    • Stone, J.D. & Miller, R.M. (1985). Volunteer youth workers: Recruiting and developing leaders for youth ministry. Group.
Dean Borgman cCYS