I’m a part of unCuffed Ministries, an organization that serves youth charged as adults in the criminal justice system. Each week I go into the Baltimore County Detention Center to meet with these young men, which is such a contrast from my regular job as a suburban youth minister.
It’s amazing what I’ve learned serving in this area of ministry. Serving in prison has not only impacted me personally, but helped me improve the way I serve the teens in my parish. What I’ve learned since joining unCuffed is that:
My first encounter with an angry parent was a phone call on my second day of youth ministry. The parent called to complain that her son was not in the same small group as a friend. She said, “It was a great injustice.” I remember hanging up and thinking, “She’s crazy.”
I’m sure we’ve met parents that have made us wonder whether we should be concerned or confused. When you are responsible for the well being, growth and success for another human being it will make you crazy. As youth ministers you can help parents by recognizing:
Anytime you do something different you are guaranteed feedback. When we started an offertory at our high school worship program the feedback we got was not initially positive.
There was confusion as to why we were asking teens to give, when they don’t have a regular income. Talking to teens about tithing might seem disingenuous but the reality is that it’s essential. The reason you need to teach your teens about tithing is because:
Do you love the church that employs you? It might seem like an odd question; however, it’s an important one to answer. It’s a question that rarely gets asked, but essential to answer.
To love your church isn’t always easy. There are going to be times when you fight with coworkers, and get overwhelmed by members. Working in a church isn’t always easy, but you have to love it or else you will not last. So, do you love your church? If the answer is yes then you are:
A fellow youth worker once said to me, “Chris, it’s easy to get volunteers when your church is thriving but how can you do that when it’s dying?”
Finding volunteers in a dying or thriving parish is challenging; however, not impossible. The only way it could be possible is if literally every Sunday not a single person walks into your church building. To recruit volunteers in a dying parish is possible, you just need to: