I didn’t always get it right. For many years I just needed bodies. I wasn’t looking for the right people or a solid community. I just needed numbers. While filling up holes in your ministry team is important, it’s not as important as building the core.
Last night we rallied our leaders together to kickoff another season of youth ministry. I love these events because they not only get the year started right, they are also a chance to invest in your ministry core.
10 years ago today I walked into Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as the Middle School Youth Minister. Today I’m still at the same church and I oversee all youth ministry programs. I feel blessed to have last this long, but it hasn’t always been easy.
To last in youth ministry is not easy. To last the long haul you need the right systems and strategies. You need the right leadership and vision. While there are dozens of the things that I’ve learned the last 10 years there are 6 that stick out. I learned:
Should you have to work weekends to run a healthy youth ministry? YES. I didn’t always think that way because I didn’t want to think that way. I wanted to sleep in on Sundays. I wanted to watch football and hangout. That’s the problem it was about me.
For your youth ministry to be successful. For your parish to succeed it needs the youth minister there on the weekend. More specifically you need to be there when Mass or services are occurring.
If your family attends a separate parish you need to have the hard conversation about switching because believe it or not your presence matters. Why? Because it says so much and it affects your churches health. By working on the weekends you are able to:
One of the things I enjoy the most about youth ministry is meeting with other youth workers. In fact with all the traveling I’ve done recently it’s been awesome to sit with other church workers. That’s why one of my favorite times of year is our church conference Matter 14.
Every year hundreds of church workers from across the country (and a few from overseas) gather in Timonium, Maryland at Church of the Nativity for Matter 14. Together we worship, learn and encourage one another to LOVE GOD. LOVE OTHERS. AND MAKE DISCIPLES. If you couldn’t join us last year you need to this year because:
I had five minutes to meet everyone at the beach with no clue how to get back. I had told people if I did not return after an hour to start considering looking for me.
It was my first time in Acadia National Park. I had been taken in by the scene a little too long. With no idea what path to take I finally found blue markers. I focused on the path and made my way back to family. In the end I was only five minutes late.
As leaders we are going to find ourselves out of our elements sometimes. My situation was not life and death; however, it did give me time to reflect on 3 leadership principles. Basically as a leader: