Using unsaved adults as youth leaders?

What suggestions do you have for this fellow youth worker?

Chris Day serves a church youth ministry of about 150 students, most of whom are from the community and do not know Christ. At a recent parent meeting, a couple unsaved parents asked about helping out at youth meetings. Chris emailed me about it and would love your input:

Can non-believing parents be “staff” on youth nights and trips as long as they aren’t put in a teaching position? For example, can I use non-Christian parents to help oversee the game room, serving concessions, and greet students as they arrive and leave? Then they would be exposed to the Gospel and maybe they would give their lives to Christ along with their kids. Would this be a wise move?

Personally, I wouldn’t let unsaved parents serve in my ministry for a lot of reasons. Here’s three:

1. Whether I like it or not, youth workers become role models for the kids. I would not put any unsaved adult in that position for my kids. I won’t even put a new believer or any emotionally or spiritually immature person in that role either. It doesn’t matter if they’re a teacher or a server — kids still see them as an adult authority figure. The new kid who visits will have no idea that this adult they’re carefully watching isn’t intended to be a role model. Besides, there’s no way an unsaved adult can be a spiritual role model.

2. Unsaved youth workers, although well intentioned, don’t share the same values and goals I do as a Christian. We don’t even think on the same wavelength. The last thing I need is an adult making an unwise statement or action toward a student. An unsaved adult is at a much higher risk for this to happen.

3. Youth group is not intended to be the place for evangelism to adults. The primary ministry is to the kids. They come first. If I was in this situation, I’d encourage those parents to get involved in other areas of the church that are geared specifically for them. Or, I’d go hang out at their house with their kid sometime for dinner and share the gospel.

I’m sure there will be plenty of different opinions on this. Let ’em rip!

Posted on October 28, 2007

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