Introduction to Youth Ministry

6 sessions

Effective youth ministry leadership requires insight into planning, counseling, youth development and working with volunteers.

You can enjoy this course as an individual learner, or use the content with a group of youth leaders and volunteers at your church. If using this for personal growth, simply work through the six sessions. Each session offers video content as well as links to learn more.

If using the materials with a group, check out the suggested approach below.

The Flourish Center also offers another youth ministry course called “Essentials for Youth Ministry.” It is a wonderful next step after completing this course.

Please note that the introductory video was taken from the “live” version of this course, where our team hosted weekly presence sessions for the purposes of direct conversation and community. As we develop more courses, we will continue to provide “live” opportunities before releasing  versions for local use.

Please check the Flourish site for more information about upcoming “live” courses.

How to Use This Guide

This guide will be a resource as you go through the Introduction to Youth Ministry course. You can use this material for personal study by logging into the session pages, watching the videos, and reviewing the attached resources.

In case you are using this study with a group, however, the first section contains some ideas to kick off the course for your group, as well as a pathway through each session. Each session entry gives you the big idea, a list of videos for that session, and questions to use in the discussion with your group (or just to consider for yourself). Feel free to tailor your questions to whatever works best for your group if you are working through this with others.  

—The Flourish Team

Group Use

If you are using this material with a group of youth leaders or volunteers at your church, here is an approach to try:

If you are unable to meet in person, agree on a technology for online meetings (Zoom, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, etc.). Schedule meetings around each of the sessions and encourage participants to do their work in advance.

**Tip: Send emails to your participants in advance of each meeting, reminding them to do their work and re-sharing the necessary connection information for your group session!

Prior to the first session

Ask your participants:

  • What they are hoping to get out of this?
  • How long have they been involved with youth at church and in what ways?
  • What gifts do they feel they bring to the task of Youth Ministry?
Before each session conversation
  • Watch every video
  • Make a few notes of expected questions
  • Make notes of questions you hope to ask
A suggested pathway for each session
  • Start with prayer
  • Quick check in – how are people doing?
  • Review last week
  • Go through discussion about the video content (have a plan for what path you will take – but be open to the conversation’s flow)
  • Discuss any of the extra resources people accessed or enjoyed
  • Any final questions
  • Homework assignments (if there are any)
  • Close with prayer

Go to Session One

Introduction to Youth Ministry and Discipleship

Big idea: Laying the groundwork for what youth ministry is, who it is with, and getting on the same page for this journey. Click here for the session guide. 

Go to Session Two

Developmental Theory and Youth Ministry

Big Idea: Taking a look at the teenage years and how that life stage is unique, and how faith intersects with it.

Leading a group?  Click here for the session guide.

Go to Session Three

 Introduction to Programming

Big Idea: Exploring how we teach, what we teach, and ways teenagers and others learn.

Leading a group?  Click here for the session guide.

Go to Session Four

Planning and Administration

Big Idea:  The logistics of overseeing a ministry area that involves many moving parts and many people.

Leading a group?  Click here for the session guide.

Go to session Five

An introduction to counseling and supporting your group

Big Idea: We are not alone in this world. Our youth need to feel supported individually and as a group, and we also need support both in and outside our congregations.

Leading a group?  Click here for the session guide.

Go to session Six

Working with volunteers and other people

Big Idea: You will interact with a lot of people who are not teenagers. Thinking about, and being prepared for these moments is essential to a healthy and sustainable ministry.

Leading a group?  Click here for the session guide.

Sara Clarke Turpin


Rev. Sara Clarke Turpin is Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Buechel Park Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, where she has served since 2013. She earned a Master of Divinity degree from BSK: Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, along with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown College with majors in Religion and Business Administration: Management and minors in Church Music and Psychology. She has been both a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) Scholar and Fellow and served on the CBF Kentucky Coordinating Council and Execitive Committee.

Andrew Noe


Andrew Noe serves at East Leonard CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigian as the Pastor of Faith Formation. He is a proud graduate of the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, is passionate about bringing creativity to ministry, and enjoys working with teenagers. He is married to the wonderful Hannah, and they have two spectacular kids – Gwen and Benjamin. His side passions are comic books, lego and video games.

Justin Sizemore


Justin Sizemore is the Minister to Youth at Calvary Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. He is a graduate of the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University and a proud Georgetown College Tiger! He has been involved in Youth Ministry as a volunteer, assistant, chaperone, and now minister for over 14 years. Youth Ministry is his passion and calling.

Justin is married to Abby Sizemore (The FABULOUS Director of Admissions for the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky!!!) and they have two wonderful daughters, Ann-Thomas and their most recent addition, Edith (Edie).

flourish courses

Flourish courses offer great learning opportunities around key topics designed to help equip church leaders for vibrant ministry. These short-term courses are offered online and are affordable.

upcoming courses

Additional Flourish Courses are coming! Register for “Essential Topics in Youth Ministry,”  coming in Spring 2021.