Why You Need To Be More Professional

To be a professional youth minister takes a lot of work.  It’s something we all know, but what it means to be a professional youth minister isn’t always clear.

I can show up to work in jeans, and throw pizza parties. And, I’m responsible for the spiritual journey of the thousands of teenagers in my zip code.  

Many times people see the pizza, but not the burden of a professional youth minister.  That needs to change.  To go beyond pizza and lock-ins youth ministry needs to be taken seriously.  To do that you need to:

KNOW YOUR PURPOSE

A big question people will think but not ask is, “Why are you a youth minister?”  To know the WHY you need to have a vision.  What is God calling you to do?

To develop your vision statement:

  • Spend Time In Prayer
  • Examine Your Heart
  • Name The Problem You Are Trying To Solve

Essentially youth ministers exist to grow disciples of Jesus Christ so that they’ll have a positive impact on their community and the world.  Know your purpose, embrace it and share it.

UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCES

A huge challenge in professional youth ministry is learning how to minister to multiple audiences.  One moment you are addressing teenagers, then parents, then your volunteers and then church members.  

Identifying the different audiences will help you:

  • Communicate More Effectively
  • Serve Them More Personally
  • Ask For Their Support With Intentionality

Surround yourself with people who can help you address each audience.  When people see you are meeting them where they are they will take you more seriously.

EMBRACE DISCIPLINE AND ORGANIZATION

No one gets into youth ministry to fill out forms.  But, paperwork, budgets, and other systems are important to youth ministry.  They help you stay efficient and productive. When people see that you are organized they’ll assume your responsible.

Again, surround yourself with people who understand these systems.  Ask them to advise and even take lead.  In the end you’ll not only be more organized but create more margin in your life.   

LOOK TO GROW

As you grow older and more experienced your responsibilities will need to change.  Your ministry will grow in new ways and so will the world around you.  By embracing change and looking to grow you’ll ensure your ministry never loses relevancy and impact.

Cast a personal vision and set goals.  Get yourself ready for the time you might have to walk away (Even if it’s decades off).  That means delegating, growing leaders and replacing yourself. It’ll be hard, but in the end you’ll be blessed.

Being a professional youth minister does not mean wearing a shirt and tie.  It means conducting yourself with an attitude and manner that says, “Take me seriously.”  People will look to you as a professional and see that youth ministry really does matter.

Question: What have you found as the biggest reasons youth ministers aren’t taken seriously?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jake

    “Get yourself ready for the time you might have to walk away.” This has always been my mantra, but it is SO difficult to get others to completely buy in to this idea. I try to delegate as much as I can, and I try to instill the idea that I will not be here at some point, so all of “you” need to be able to train the new person who replaces me on how this church does Youth Ministry. Everyone just wants me to handle everything, so it’s hard to pass off that level of ownership.

    • Jake,

      I struggle with this too. I think the challenge is to not only delegate but learn how to do apprenticing. It needs to start with watch while I do. Then help while I do. Followed by you do and I’ll help. Then lastly saying you do and I’ll watch.

      In the end it’s making sure they know what to do, walking with them and talking to them about it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Michele

    It’s not about you, it’s about Jesus…you should be able to leave and the ministry and the work of the Church continues. If it’s all about YOU, you’re not doing your job. Christianity does not need a cult of human personality- they need the person of Christ. If it’s about pizza, events, and numbers, you aren’t doing your job.

    • Michele, thanks for sharing. I agree if you can’t replace yourself at a church then you are doing it a disservice. I also realize it’s a challenge and that’s why we need to keep the focus on Christ.