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 a leader you are going to find ourselves out of our elements. My situation was not life and death; however, it did give me time to reflect on 3 leadership principles. Basically as a leader:
It happened like it’s happened many times before. After Mass a parent comes up to me to say, “I have been trying to reach you.” It’s a moment of desperation, panic or emergency in a parent’s life. They need you to assist them. The question is HOW?
As a youth minister families will come to you in time of need. Even if you are not a parent they’ll want to know how to:
- Talk to their teen about sex?
- Get them to focus on their schoolwork?
- Get them more involved in the church?
- Discipline them when they are in trouble?
The list goes on and on. It can be overwhelming to assist a family or parent in need. To get through the messiness and be there for a family make sure you:
I have been working in youth ministry since 2006, and I have been at my current parish for almost 3 years. Over the last year I have had to de-volunteer (aka ask a volunteer to leave/fire) 2 people.
In my experience, nothing can be as awkward and uncomfortable as asking a volunteer to take a break. Nobody wants to do it, but in all reality, sometimes it has to be done. From these recent experiences, I’ve learned 5 valuable lessons on the right and wrong way to de-volunteer someone:
I had no clue what I was doing. On my first day of youth ministry I remember just sitting at my desk trying to figure out which tasks to tackle first. Eventually I figured it out. But, that was after a lot of mistakes, failure and heart break.
Starting out in youth ministry can be daunting. You are either thrown into a plethora of programs or you need to start from scratch. So many tasks to tackle and many places to start. If you are not careful you can find yourself overcommitted, overworked and headed towards burnout.
If you are just starting out or looking to start over it’s essential to set a solid foundation. That means tackling certain tasks right away. Such as: