It happened again. No support. No budget. No promotion. No encouragement. No help. No volunteers. Few students. Exhausted Youth Pastor.
Many churches struggle in this area. Most congregations still focus on their natural tendency to be adult-centered at the expense of excluding children & teens. In some sense, they are treated as a Junior Varsity team that few support. As youth workers, our job is to change that. We have to encourage the whole church to be involved and invested in youth ministry. However, we can’t do this with bad intentions. We have to fight fairly. Here are some suggestions to do that…
1. Be patient– Everything won’t happen quickly. Truth be told, it is probably best that way. Call for change. Teach on change. Share why it’s important. But more importantly, wait. Don’t be the renegade youth pastor with a track record longer than Al Capone. Be faithful where God planted you and help be the change you wish to see in the youth ministry.
2. Be a servant– As a youth pastor, you have insight, skill sets, and a perspective many will not have as volunteers or staff. The greatest way to receive is to give. Give your service and talents to other ministries. Don’t let this be a tool of manipulation rather a platform of service. Show people your heart for ministry and you may enlighten them to leave the territorial grounds of their ministry to serve teens.
3. Be mindful– Youth Ministry is not the only important ministry at your church. There are times when you need to sit back and understand the need to serve and edify others not a part of the youth ministry. Sometimes that may come at the expense of the youth ministry. That’s ok. If we can’t sacrifice how can we expect others to?
4. Be saturated in prayer– What ever it is: IT happens after prayer. No victory or motivation will last in your youth ministry if it’s not founded on prayer. Prioritize prayer amongst your volunteers and ask for the church to pray for your youth!
5. Be diligent- Your ideas and request will get rejected and deflected. Don’t give up. Stay motivated. It is your job to make sure the church is deeply committed and invested in the lives of teens. If you lose motivation due to rejection and find it hopeless you will find yourself in a spiritual rut. Find your identity in Christ and not your performance. Your faithfulness can only be sustained by trusting the Gospel and hoping your teens will do the same.
6. Be strategic– Be a ninja of promotion for all things youth. Promote on social media, share testimonies, web sites, and blogs. Have intentional conversations about upcoming events and future plans.
7. Be visible– You have to be present and serving at church-wide events. Don’t be absent or found missing. Ask your youth to do the same. Have them visible in corporate worship by serving in various areas on particular Sundays.
8. Be proactive– The church has a thousand of things on it’s to-do list. Sadly, student ministry can get placed last. To circumnavigate that issue, plan ahead. Way ahead. Reserve rooms in advance. Ask for graphic designs way in advance. Submit paperwork months in advance. And make sure you frequently follow-up on those request.
9. Be a reporter– Tell the church about the spiritual wins. Don’t just report numbers. Tell them how teens are growing, tell them how students are trusting the Gospel.
10. Be a cheerleader– Celebrate your students and their achievements. Tell the church about how awesome your teens are. Show them pictures of games you attended on social media, mention academic endeavors, demonstrate how particular students are sharing their faith.
11. Be Gospel-Centered– Youth Ministry is a ripe mission field. Let people know your heart is ultimately to see teens trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. Let them know you want Christ to be the ultimate treasure in the lives of teens. No, we don’t care about being the coolest or most popular youth ministry. No, we don’t want a bigger budget to entertain ourselves to death. Yes, we want you to become DEEPLY involved to see teens run to the cross.
What are some ways you fight for your youth ministry?
For God’s Glory,