Monday, May 11, 2009

The Inside Track on Youth Work

I really liked the points Tim made in his post, What I wish someone told me about youth ministry… from Life in Student Ministry. Most of the points are quite applicable to youth professionals and educators - even if they are not in a faith-based organization.

1. It’s very emotional, unlike any other job. You’ll experience the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows.
2. It’s very messy, and always will be as long as you work with people who are just as imperfect and sinful as you are.
3. It’s constantly changing. Youth culture never stays the same from year to year, and neither do the kids, values, nor worldviews. Youth ministry must always morph along with it. As soon as you think you have a handle on it, think again.
4. It requires strong vision casting. Any leadership position does, but leadership in youth ministry does especially. Your leaders, teens, parents, church and community all depend on it.
5. Don’t think you need to do it all. In fact, the ministry is healthier when you enable others to serve instead of taking responsibility for every youth event, trip, fundraiser, small group, idea, and strategy that furthers the vision.
6. No matter what people at your new church say, don’t make deep rooted changes in the ministry until after two years of building trust and respect.
7. Live a life that is above reproach in everything. Eventually even “little things” will come to light and you will be held to a higher level of accountability for it (and rightly so).
8. Kids really don’t care how “cool” you are or how well you know scripture as much as they care about how much you love them as individuals, not as a group.
9. Have a firm grasp on what your values are in ministry and make sure they’re are aligned with a church’s written and unwritten values before accepting a paid youth ministry position there.
10. Don’t be too discouraged if you don’t see results and life-change take place right away. Sometimes it takes years, and even then you won’t always hear about it.

If you like this post, make sure to read more of Tim's work at Life in Student Ministry.