We need leaders not chaperones

Shortly before our annual winter retreat, a parent asked me, “Do you need any more chaperones for the winter retreat?”

For a second, I honestly didn't know what this parent was talking about.

My youth ministry doesn't have chaperones.

It does, however, have adult leaders.

Adult leaders are actually the backbone of my youth ministry. Without them, we'd cease to function.

This distinction may seem subtle. Perhaps it's so subtle that it even seems irrelevant.

It's not.

What we call people matters.

The role of a chaperone is very different from that of a leader.

Chaperones keep people in line. Their job is to make sure that everyone is following the rules. If everything goes as planned, chaperones can manage people from a distance. Unless there's a problem, they can be relatively hands-off.

Read the rest of this article here. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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