Dear Youth Pastors,
The new (school) year always brings a bit of anxiety for me personally, so I totally resonate with you if you’re having some freakouts. I once used to plan week to week, then I started planning month to month, but the whole year gets planned this year. If you’re a youth pastor and reading this, plan your full year. Seriously, my anxiety decreased by 6,000% the first year I did that.
It may be a bit late to get the jump start you would have needed for this, but talk to those who support your program. Get the opinion of others, and vent with them, and find out if your anxieties are related to yourself or your program. Get a start now, get excited for the future. If you don’t believe in this year, ask those around you if they do, because typically they do. If they do, believe in yourself! Listen to the encouragement they share with you, and believe in this year. It’s a new beginning, and new chapters are always a great place to re-energize!
Speaking of communication, the more I do youth ministry, the more I discover the absolute necessity of being good at communication. I have eliminated over 95% of confrontations through clearer communication. Maybe you’re feeling pressured from parents to put on the best program ever this year! Communicate to them in the clearest way possible your vision for this year! Their pragmatic worldview tells them to be sure that their investment is worth something, and it’s up to us to clearly know and clearly articulate exactly what it is we are doing. It does matter, so be sure you know your program's vision going into that conversation. I’m personally holding a parents meeting for the purpose of communicating our year's vision, and I would encourage you to do the same.
To close I turn to Scripture. In Ephesians 4, a familiar passage comes to mind: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers…” you know the rest. Often, we are assured in our calling because of that specific proof texting of Ephesians. But even more than the encouragement in being called into ministry is the assurance that the passage describes the unity of the body. We aren’t in this alone. You aren’t in this alone. In fact, you’re surrounded by an AMAZING cloud of witnesses who want to believe in this year. Maybe it’s only a handful, maybe it’s a whole plethora of believers. Regardless of them, God believes in you. And with God, nothing is impossible. So jump in, and be fearless. God will protect you and guide you.
Grace & Peace,