Online Youth Ministry Course

Helping Hurting Teenagers

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Implement a ministry leadership style that mirrors how Jesus approached, honored, and cared for broken and hurting people.

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$198 value
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Course Overview

In this student ministry leadership training course, you’ll learn how to engage your teenagers in deeper conversations the kind of conversations that uncover real-life struggles and wounds.

You’ll discover in this online youth ministry training how to maximize your unique role in the lives of your students, becoming the committed friend and gentle counselor who—like Jesus—invites rather than pushes. You’ll gain the practical skills and insight needed to be effective in times of crisis and build a youth ministry that creates natural entry ramps into the stories and lives of students.

Course Outline

Getting Started

Discover how to navigate your online course, get connected to our ministry network, and download a copy of the Course Notes.


Meet course instructor Dr. Marv Penner, Registered Clinical Counselor and the Executive Director of All About Youth, Canada. He’ll give you the tools you need to help hurting teenagers with the kind of skilled, compassionate, and wise counsel they so desperately need.

Module 1. Welcome to a World of Hurt

A growing number of adolescents today are hurting deeply. The issues they face are increasing in complexity, tempting us to feel overwhelmed by them. But ignoring these issues is simply not an option. Discover the significant role you can have as a caring, involved, Jesus-loving adult in the life of a hurting teenager (without having to get a degree in Clinical Psychology.) This course will show you how.

Module 2. Understanding the Sources of Adolescent Pain

In this module we’ll equip you to understand the sources of adolescent pain. You’ll understand the toxic cycle of shame and discover how Jesus responded to hurting people.

Module 3. Becoming the Kind of Person Who Can Help Hurting Kids

The metaphor Jesus uses to describe ministry leaders is “shepherd”—we carry a staff to rescue our “sheep” and a rod to defend them. This module will explore the roles of Preacher, Teacher, Hugger, and Surgeon to know how to properly respond to kids in need. You’ll discover your primary helping style and learn how to compensate your leadership limitations with a team approach.

Module 4. Becoming a True “L.O.V.E.R.” of Hurting Kids

In this module we’ll turn our attention to the “what” of helping hurting teenagers. You’ll learn the skills and practices needed to make an impact…Listen prayerfully; Offer to go deeper; Validate their feelings; Explore options; and Referral for additional care.

Module 5. The Rules for Referral

Sometimes we just can’t deal with a teenager’s story on our own. The issues are too complex. This is no cause for shame. It’s not unusual for even the most seasoned people-helpers to feel under-qualified at times. This module will help you understand when to refer a teenager for further help and how to do it.

Module 6. Tackling the Tough Stuff

In the universe of “Helping Challenges,” we need extra focus on the four big issues in teenagers’ lives. This module will explore those issues. Self-harm, addiction, depression, and suicide are the four most serious issues that typically confront those serving in youth ministry. And they’re all complicated, demanding issues that can quickly overwhelm our ability to help. This module is dedicated to understanding these issues and discovering how to respond with the help that’s needed.

Module 7. Wrap Up

In a Jesus-centered youth ministry we’re always looking for ways to initiate deeper conversations, where the real-life struggles and wounds that teenagers hold inside are invited into the light. In this last session we’ll reinforce our mission to maximize our role as committed friends and gentle counselors who, like Jesus, invite rather than push. As you complete this course, you’re now equipped to help hurting teenagers and build a ministry that always points to the great healer—Jesus.

Course Outcomes

U Discover

How to build a student ministry that initiates and connects.

How to build a student ministry that honors the sacred realities of young people through the portal of intentional relationships.

How to build a student ministry that naturally creates opportunities to enter into the stories of teenagers.

How to build a student ministry that always points to the great healer, Jesus.

U Will

Implement a ministry leadership style that mirrors how Jesus approached, honored, and cared for broken and hurting people.

About the Instructor


Marv Penner is a Registered Clinical Counselor and the Executive Director of All About Youth, Canada. He founded and leads The Coalition for Youth Ministry Excellence and is the National Director of Youth Specialties Canada. He’s an associate staff member of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding and was previously a Professor of Christian Ministry at Briercrest College and Seminary. He got his start in youth ministry, serving for 15 years at the same church in Ontario, Canada.

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