Guidelines for Youth Workers
We are bringing a new youth minister on staff, and I wonder what types of guidelines we should set for him relative to how he interacts with the young people. We have heard horror stories of people who work with youth who put themselves in compromising situations and faced terrible accusations.
I’ve simply copied the agreement we have our youth workers sign when they’re applying to work with youth.
Policies for Minors
Leaders are never alone with a minor, for any reason (this also includes being off campus with a minor).
Leaders may not use bathrooms designated for youth and children.
Leaders may not interact privately with minors of the opposite sex on any social media platform. Failure to abide by this policy will result in immediate removal from the department.
Leaders may interact with minors of the same sex on these social media platforms:
- Facebook — Yes
- Instagram — Yes
- Twitter — Yes
- Snapchat — Yes
Leaders may NEVER place a minor of the same sex in your vehicle on or off campus, UNLESS you are with another GYM Approved Youth Leader:
- 2 male leaders w/ male students — OK
- 2 female leaders w/ female students — OK
- Husband and wife w/ male or female students — OK
*When a student enters your car you are fully liable for said student(s) in your car and may not under any circumstance hold The Garden Christian Assembly, or anyone affiliated with The Garden Christians Assembly, responsible.
Physical contact between leaders is only permitted with the same sex.
Personal ministry is always done with the same sex.
- Boys minister to boys
- Girls minister to girls
These policies are non-negotiable and must be enforced every time.
Print Name: ____________________
Guidelines that I would look for are:
- Church background.
- Past attendance (faithfulness).
- Social influence with others.
- Ability to understand and communicate Bible truths.
- Understanding our church vision.
- Personal family background.
- The witness of those he associates with.
- Their ability to receive me as their pastor.
In the past I have tried to hire a youth pastor outside of the church and had very little success. So I looked within our own youth group and found great success.
I personally do the hiring of the youth pastor and would not consider putting the responsibility on anyone else.
My oldest son, Adam, has been the youth pastor since 1994. Thank the Lord we have had no problems with him interacting with young people nor have any adults who help him with the youth.
Adam is ordained by Rhema and will become the senior pastor of this church in January 2020. Through this transition, Pastor Adam has four adults who have been with the church for a long period of time (one of them is my second son, Blaine), who minister to the youth. In the beginning of 2019, we will begin to recruit for a new youth pastor. There is a young, married couple attending Rhema from our church now, and they have interest in the youth ministry.
Pastor Adam, knowing very well the potential problems that can occur, has been extremely diligent to do everything possible to avoid disastrous episodes. A young woman, who has been with the church for a very long period of time, has a weekly Bible study with the female youths and works with them one on one as needed. In our guidelines, not Pastor Adam nor any male adult meets one-on-one with a female youth. The woman who works closest with the female youths never meets one-on-one with a male youth.
Pastor Adam teaches the youths concerning inappropriate sexual behavior. He especially reinforces this prior to a missions trip or an overnight event. Neither Pastor Adam nor Geri (the woman who ministers to the female youths) are ever in the church alone with only one teen of the opposite sex. On mission trips or overnight events with the youths neither Adam nor Geri are ever alone in compromising circumstances with a youth of the opposite sex. Both Pastor Adam and Geri try to monitor the youth on mission trips and overnight events so that youths of the opposite sex are not alone where they should not be.
Pastor Adam and Geri are friends on social media with the youth of the church. How closely they monitor emails, texting, etc., I do not know. I do not believe we have had any serious problems with this.
The first thing that comes to mind is a time requirement. A mistake I make way too often, even though I know better, is not having the same requirements for volunteers as well as paid staff, especially in the area of time. The amount of time will be different, but if a volunteer agrees to volunteer a certain amount of hours they should be held just as accountable as a paid employee. This requires a meeting that ends with a clear understanding on both parts. There may be times you may sit down with someone and realize that they don’t have enough time to do what they are volunteering to do and may have to put it off until another time, no matter how great the need or how qualified they are to do it.
As far as ethical and moral requirements, as you mentioned, you have to keep people very accountable. A youth leader should never meet alone with the opposite sex on any occasion. This includes emails and phone calls. Any advice or discussions of a personal matter should be in the presence of a witness or be handled by someone of the same sex. A broken heart and an understanding sympathetic ear have been the breeding ground for many affairs and inappropriate behavior.
You mentioned you are “bringing in” a youth minister. Is there a probationary period? I love the advice Pastor Hagin gave us. Ask someone to do the job on a temporary basis, and if they don’t work out, you can say, “thank you for your help.” If it does work out, you can hire them at that point. How well do you know them? You should have someone from your church, whom you trust, assist them and make sure they are the person you are hoping they would be.
One of the areas I struggle with the most is people who drink alcohol. My desire would be to make an absolutely no drinking policy across the board. I have asked, suggested, reasoned, and even tried a little guilt. Sad to say, people do what they want to do anyway. I mentioned that to say, I do put that restriction on those who work with youth. For all others, I ask that if they must, that it not be done in the presence of other church members or posted on social media in any way. When I was young, I saw a man with a minister’s collar smoke pot, and I used that to justify every bad decision I made.