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:
With summer winding down do you feel like you have enough volunteers? The answer is probably, “No.” The truth is that it never feels like enough. I used to lose sleep as Labor Day approached. I would wonder, “Are we going to be okay?”
The truth is you will be okay, but that doesn’t change the fact that you still need to recruit volunteers. So, how do you make sure you have enough volunteers by the first gathering?
At the end of a long day I just need to unwind. My job is filled with many rewards; however, there can be times I just want to mail it in. One of the ways I release the tension is through music (Especially with songs like Hold On by The Gospel Whiskey Runners). It’s one of the small things I do to help me last in youth ministry.
Youth ministry is like a marathon. It’s a journey filled with challenges and moments when you ask, “Why am I still doing this?” It can be brutal because of the emotional and spiritual battles that take place. While youth ministry is grueling it’s still rewarding.
To stick around and witness those rewards you need to know how to last in youth ministry. That means doing a few small things and not neglecting the essentials. To last in youth ministry you need to:
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:
“WHY AM I DOING THIS?” That was the question racing through my mind as I was cleaning out the crab water from the trunk of my car after the middle school crab feast. It had been a fun night; however, nothing had changed. I wondered, “Is it time for this program to die?”
Just like volunteers and students, programs will come and go. You need to determine when they should go before they hurt your ministry. 3 signs a program needs to go is that it starts to: