FREE Christian Youth Group Ministry & Pastor Resources

Samaritan's Purse Shares Films from the Frontlines of Ukraine

How to recruit a Youth Ministry Team

  • Published Oct 18, 2001
How to recruit a Youth Ministry Team
The greatest threat to the safety of kids in youth ministry is not rock climbing, drunk drivers, or white-water rafting. The most dangerous potential is an adult leader. The people charged with the care of young people will cause more damage and harm to the kids than any natural disaster or sports hazard. Sexual, physical, and verbal abuse by well-intentioned but immature youth ministry staff does deep damage to a young person and often block his or her future relationship with God. The quality of the staff on a youth ministry team is the most important safety factor in the protection of the young people involved.

Note: Child abuse is an abuse or misuse of power and authority over a child under the age of 18 by any adult responsible for that child.

Establish staff behavior standards. All staff members - paid or volunteer - need to follow a high standard of behavior. The church is responsible to provide them with clear and specific guidelines by which they will be judged. They should read and sign this document before they start working in the ministry. All staff members should re-sign this sheet every year to remind them of their commitment. Don't assume anything. Expect and require all staff to comply.

  • Name of staff/volunteer

  • Social Security number

  • Any verbal or nonverbal sexual behavior with any student is inappropriate.

  • Dating or going out with any high school student is forbidden.

  • Discretion must be used in dealing with all students, especially regarding physical contact. Innocent behavior can be misinterpreted. A hug around the shoulders is not sexual abuse, but a full body hug, stroking, massaging, or an affectionate kiss raises questions. Any overt display of affection should be made in a public setting in front of other group members.

  • Sexual gestures or overtures a student makes to a staff member should be reported to the youth leader so that discussion can be held with the student.

  • Buddy systems should be used by staff whenever possible, but especially when working with students of the opposite sex.

  • One-to-one counseling with a student should always occur in a public place - never alone in a car or a private place.

  • Driving alone with a student of the opposite sex should be avoided at all times, especially when working with troubled teens.

  • If it is necessary to ride or drive with a teen, special care should be taken with a student of the opposite sex. Don't sit close to one another in the car. Do not come into physical contact with each other. Do not stop the car to talk. If you must stop, turn on the inside light of the car. Avoid physical contact (hugs and kisses) when saying goodbye. Beware of the time you depart and arrive. Mark those times in your diary or record.

  • Romantic or sexual attraction for a student by an adult leader should be brought up and discussed with the ministry team for prayer and guidance.

  • All suspicions of child or sexual abuse must be reported to the ministry team leader, who will report it to the mandated reporter in the organization.

  • Any knowledge or suspicion of any youth ministry staff having an inappropriate relationship with a student must be reported promptly to the youth ministry leader. If the person in question is the leader, the report should be made to the supervisor of that person.

  • Have you been involved romantically or sexually with any student in the youth ministry at any time during the past year?

  • Do you know of anyone on the youth ministry team who is or has been romantically or sexually involved with any student in the youth ministry?

  • Are you now a child abuser or have you ever been convicted of child abuse or sexual abuse?

  • I certify that I have read and agreed to abide by the standards and that the statements above have been answered truthfully.

  • Signature and date

Reprinted with permission from Better Safe Than Sued by Jack Crabtree. Copyright (c) 1998 by Jack Crabtree and the Livingstone Corporation. Used by permission of Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Ave., Loveland, CO 80539, 1-800-447-1070.