Welcome to the wonderful ministry of YOUTH MINISTRY! You have now been hired by a church; your office is set up and you are ready to hit the ground running. You look at your roster of youth, your council and the list of all the meetings you need to attend as the new youth worker on staff. The custodians have already come to you and given you the low down on how they feel about marshmallows being used, or played with, at youth group. Your new administrative assistant, if you have one, told you when the bulletin announcement deadline is. And here comes the senior pastor, ready to sit you down and explain how things work and that retreats don’t classify as work. Welcome to youth ministry!
Where do you begin? Here are just a few ideas to get your mind working. Keep checking back to this Networking page as each of the following topics will be added to in order to help you out.
- Pray. This seems to be the obvious first of any list but it’s also the first to be moved to the bottom of the list of things that need to be done. Prayer is essential to any youth ministry in any church. You can’t do enough of it. Begin your day, your meetings, and your youth group gatherings with prayer. Invite God to be part of everything you do.
- Read your Bible. Take it out and don’t put it back on the book shelf. Open it, read it and digest what God is teaching you. Keep in mind that preparing for a Bible study is not the same as doing your personal devotions. ‘Read your Bible and Pray every day’ says the familiar children’s song that is packed with so much truth.
- Build a good relationship with your Senior Pastor. This can not be stressed enough. You and your senior pastor are not silo ministry staff members of the church but a team. You must always be a ministry team working together towards a common goal. Your church family and your council needs to witness a team that works together. If not, it is the beginning of the end.
- Get to know the Council, prominent people of the congregation and the key youth. Take some time, ask the questions and find out who are the ‘king-pins’ of your church family, council and youth group. Get to know them. Understand them and their passion for the church. You need these people to be on your side!
- Take your time getting settled but do something significant. This is a big one. The church just increased their yearly budget to have you on staff. Your entire church family is watching you to see if you are worth your weight in gold. Don’t take too long to do something significant, something that stands out so people know that you are more than an empty pay cheque. Just make sure the significant thing is a positive one.
- Know the ministries prior to changing the ministries. Make sure you don’t come in and take over. Get to know your volunteers and the various ministries before you make any changes. Your volunteers have spent many hours in the these ministries and they have developed ownership of them. The last thing they want is for the you to come and take over and change everything they’ve worked hard at. Take your time, evaluate and make changes that encourage and build up your volunteer team.
- Do not cripple current volunteers but build them up, support and encourage them – it’s their ministry not yours. Always keep in mind that you are there to serve not to be served. The job of any youth pastor should be to empower the people of the church to do the ministry of the church. Don’t cripple your youth workers by taking over and going with your vision for youth ministry. Hear them out, understand where they are coming from and give them the ownership for the ministries of their church. Remember, you are there to serve.
And finally, I need to add one danger of starting out:
Do not rely on other people's opinions of youth! Form your own as soon as possible. People will start sharing their impression of youth – the good and the bad! The danger is that you can’t help but hold on to that impression when talking with them. If at all possible, do not go on other people's impressions of people. Hear what they have to say, if you must, but take the time to form your own impressions of each youth in your ministry. They’re worth it!So these are just a few quick points to help you out as you get started in ministry. Remember to check back to this website as together we look more depth on each of the 8 points listed above. Feel free to email me with any questions, thoughts and comments at [email protected]. God’s blessing to you as you begin ministering to the youth of your church. So here is your first task…. Walk over to your senior’s pastor’s office and book a time when you can take him (or her) out for coffee. This will be the best $5.00 you’ve spent from your Youth Ministry budget.