What I Learned This Year In Ministry

It’s done…another year of ministry under my belt and emotions are going crazy in my heart and mind.  A part of me is sad that it’s over, but then again I need a rest.  Just to be clear we still meet with our students in the summer, but the program is much more relaxed, it gives us a chance to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the future.
With that said, I want to be candid and share with you some of the raw emotion stirring in my heart at this time.  And then over the next few days break it down a little further for you.  So this is what I learned this year:

  • I’m Not Alone – One thing we as youth ministers do not take into account is the physical toll the job can take on us.  With that said on top of pacing and creating margin in our schedules we need make sure we are constantly building teams.  This past year I had so many ministers step up and carry me and the ministry when I struggled to move forward.  Knowing that you are not alone is reassuring; therefore one of our priorities should be recruiting and it all starts with invest and invite.  
  • There’s A Lot We Still Aren’t Communicating – I received a huge gift from my pastor this year.  In big church we did an entire series focused on investing in the next generation.  What I learned from this series is how the majority of parents, adults and teens in our church community are not familiar with what we do.  The problem?  We aren’t consistent, clear and focused.  Why? Probably because I put it all on myself.  The solution is first, to create vision carries and second, encourage ministers and teen leaders to tell their story.  Lastly, I just need to put myself out there more.
  • There’s Unnecessary Conflict – I’m not going to go into details, but I’m learning that if I’m not focused on building community, investing in the lives of my ministers and creating internal communications unnecessary conflict can arise.  When conflict is ignored it will cause the core of what you do to rot.  This summer there are a few people I need to sit down with and just listen to.
  • God’s Got Bigger Plan For Us – Our programs grew, our ministers stepped up and our programs went deeper; but we aren’t there yet.  This year through the talents of certain teens and the result of specific events I see that God has something big for us this fall.  It excites me and reminds me not to limit the possibility of His power. 

Right now what I’ve learned is pretty abstract.  I know there are a few systems (other than communication) that need to be resolved and reexamined, but again more on that in the days to come.  So I’m going to let this settle in, I’m going to talk to some of my team and I’m going to allow God to peel back the layers as I continue to look at the last year of ministry.

What have you learned about your ministry in the last year?