Why Lone Youth Pastors Feel Desperation in Ministry
Twenty-five years ago I was fresh out of college with an engineering degree and somehow landed a youth pastor position. As I sat in my storage closet of an office I realized I had no clue how to reach and disciple teenagers. Then I saw a flyer from National Network of Youth Ministries saying, “Reach teenagers together, connect with other leaders in your community.” “What do I have to lose?” I thought. So I started calling other youth leaders. At our first network gathering I just asked the question, “How do we reach teenagers together?”
You may feel that same desperation in ministry. You are not alone. The greatest issue facing all leaders is isolation. Even God said in the beginning, “It is not good for man to be alone.” We are created to be in community. That is why the network values the principle of cooperative leadership. What I stumbled upon early in my ministry career is the idea that all leaders need to connect with other leaders on their journey, if they expect to finish well.
Cooperative leaders live out two actions:
They Follow Jesus
Jesus was on earth, He could have done all the ministry by Himself. He “could have called a legion of angels.” But He instead chose a ragtag group of disciples who led the greatest movement ever. We start leading by becoming followers of Jesus because greatness comes from serving Jesus first, then serving others.
They Help OTHERS Follow Jesus
Who are you encouraging to lead? Barnabas is my favorite character in the Bible. He gave it all away and equipped Paul and John Mark to do the same. Barnabas’ selfless leadership set the stage for the persecutor of the church to become the greatest catalyst of the church (Acts 9:27). God is still using this kind of leadership!
Have you ever heard of Albert McMakin? He was a farmhand on the Graham family farm who encouraged Billy Graham to go to a revival. Because of going to that revival, at age 16 Billy Graham came to know Jesus. And in his 99 years on earth, millions heard of Jesus through his words. You can read the rest of Billy & Albert’s story at https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/october-2009/jesus-saves-an-ordinary-farm-boy/.
Think of the people around you. Ask God to show you with whom He wants you to invest. The youth worker in whom you invest may grow to become the greatest catalyst for the church in the modern era.
This article originally appeared here.