We don’t “do” youth ministry alone. (If you do, then that needs to change, or you need to get out of youth ministry.) As a youth pastor, there are a lot of people who make your church and ministry run, and quite frankly, who help you be a better youth pastor. Here’s a short list of people in your church who will help you be a great youth pastor:
The Encouraging Parent
Don’t let the usual stereotype fool you; youth ministry parents can be your greatest allies and biggest support in ministry. The Encouraging Parent usually likes to stay in the background, except to send you occasional notes, emails, and gift cards to your favorite restaurant or coffee shop to let you know they are glad you’re their teenager’s youth pastor. Make sure you let them know you appreciate the encouragement.
The Go-To Guy or Gal
Every youth ministry needs one of these: a volunteer who LOVES youth ministry and wants to spend a lot of time doing it. The Go-To Guys and Gals come in all shapes and sizes. Some might be great at mentoring kids in crisis, and others might love planning events or tinkering with whatever needs to be done in the youth room. If you are blessed to have one or more of these in your ministry, love them to death and pray they never, ever leave.
If you are married, then you know that you can’t do what you do without a great spouse. Whether it’s packing your bag for a retreat, providing a listening ear and a shoulder when ministry’s tough, or being okay with the fact that pastoral emergencies sometimes happen ten minutes into Date Night, your spouse is amazing. So make sure he/she knows it.
This person may not enjoy lock-ins, mission trips, or loud music on Sunday mornings. But if you need to feed 200 people for an event or fundraiser, they are your man (or woman). Make sure you thank The Chef by always giving plenty of advance notice when their services are needed, and let them know the food is amazing.
The “Success Story”
Youth ministry can be hard when it’s difficult to see the fruit of your labor. When students seem apathetic, or when a teenager you thought was on solid ground ends up in a rehab center after an overdose or a hospital room after a suicide attempt, it can be hard to know if you even make a difference. Make sure you remember the students who, by the grace of God, count the time in your church or youth ministry as an important time of growth in their lives. It’s always good to remember that God is still changing lives, even when times are dark.
The Honest Student
This teenager makes sure that you’re aware of things that could be better in your youth ministry. I’m not talking about someone who just wants to complain–I’m talking about the student who will let you know that no one is excited about the upcoming event, or who will let you know that your messages have been fifteen minutes too long. Don’t dismiss The Honest Student; make sure he or she is heard.
Who are people who help you be a great youth pastor?