FACT: At best, you get to spend time with your students a couple of hours each month.
FACT: God desires for parents to be the primary spiritual influencers in their children's lives.
FACT(?): You didn't sign up to minister to parents.
I was in your same shoes not long ago (assuming you wear size 9.5). In my years of ministry to students, I had come to the realization that the biggest spiritual influencers should be parents. I also learned that not all parents took on this role. Not all parents wanted this role. Most parents wanted to outsource this role...to you: the Youth Pastor. It's "what you do", right?
But, I knew that this wasn't what was intended in Deuteronomy 6. Shepherding children in God's way is a parent's responsibility! How would I get parents to understand and own this responsibility? What if they question my ability to give advice in child-rearing?
I serve in New England,...
I was at a youth ministry training back in September. I chose a breakout session led by a local area youth pastor from the city. In this breakout session, the speaker asked a question to the room full of other local area youth leaders.
Who here knows the name and number of at least three other youth pastors in your town?
Sadly, only two people raised their hands. I was one of them. I sat toward the back of the room (it was early) and I was shocked at the lack of a response to this question. The speaker acknowledged both of us for raising our hands and commended us. But, man...I was shocked!
She went on to talk about the importance of "Asset Mapping". I'll give you a brief recap of what she covered. You can find more detailed information here: Asset Mapping by Virginia Ward
It is vitally important that youth leaders (as representatives of the Church and of Jesus) be involved in the communities they serve in. This doesn't always mean to show up to all kinds of...
Do you have an office? If so, what does it look like?
How would a visitor feel once they walk in?
How would a student feel?
How about a parent?
Here's the bottom line of this blog post:
I've been a part of lots of youth minister circles and social media groups in which youth ministers complain of not being taken seriously. They argue that the church leadership sees youth ministers as fun-loving entertainers. Others see them as event coordinators. And some youth ministers are not even considered as ministers or pastors. This treatment also comes from parents and teens themselves. What have we done to deserve this?
Well, for one, I'd like to challenge all youth ministers to challenge the status quo. That's right. I'm going to be in your face in this blog post, but remember that I'm on your side.
Here we go...
Stop making your office an extension of your personality. Sure, it's fun to decorate your office with a bunch of Star Wars memorabilia or...
Before we begin, please click on the following link, watch the 4-minute video, and come back here to continue reading (I'll wait): SNL Substitute Teacher Sketch
Did you watch it? Be honest...
As youth workers, we often believe we need to relate to our students and/or parents in order to effectively minister to their needs. While being able to relate is a great connecting point with a student, it is not always necessary.
Disclaimer: I am not writing about Relational Ministry. If you do not build a relationship with the students in your ministry, you need to realize the importance of this. What I am writing about is the attempt to relate (to identify with through experience).
First, let me begin by addressing two things from the video you saw (or should have already seen) above.
Look, in case you didn't or couldn't watch the video, it's about a substitute teacher who comes into an English class and...
Here are some social media tools for you to use in order to reach parents & students in your ministry. I currently use these tools for organization, task delegation, connections, and to build a following in my youth ministry. Some are FREE, others are PAID. I recommend you budget these in for 2017! They're worth it!
Being a Youth Minister/Pastor is a tough job. It can be a lonely ministry position where your role is diminished by people who think you only entertain students once a week or just keep them out of trouble for a few years.
But, that's not the biggest frustration.
Want to know what is?
The biggest frustration in youth ministry comes after serving students, walking alongside them, preaching sermons, researching and using all kinds of Gospel-sharing styles and tools, trying to prepare them for life after high school, sharing stories in hopes to help them navigate through life's tough times, visiting them at school, showing up to their games, decorating youth rooms, putting retreats together, and facilitating meaningful conversations...
...and then they walk away from their faith, the church, Jesus, and break off all communication with you. Sometimes, they even make decisions that cause you to question whether they ever listened to anything you said.
As a kid, my father used to give me insight on life. You know, the usual pep talks and words of wisdom about how a boy should go about becoming a man. To be honest with you, I didn't really take his advice, most of the time.
I was actually the well-behaved child in the family who did everything to make his parents proud. But, I bypassed my dad's words because his actions and lifestyle did not reflect his advice.
My father was an alcoholic and a heroin addict. At the time, when I was just a middle school student, I only knew about his alcohol addiction. I barely saw my father. He would come home from work, eat dinner, then head out to a bar with friends. After everyone went to bed, I would stay up, kneeling by the living room window, waiting for my dad to come home. As soon as I saw the car pulling into the driveway, I thanked God for bringing him home safely, ran into my...