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When Your Pastor Says We Have to Let You Go

I’m seeing more and more churches letting go of or cutting pay to their student ministries director. It’s getting to the point that even I’m beginning to feel lucky that I get to have this job.

I can’t imagine what that would feel like and my heart goes out to a lot of youth leaders who are in this situation. For what it’s worth I wanted to just put it out there that if you want to fight for the job you could propose to the church a different solution. Again, this is just a recommendation and not meant to cause anyone pain or hardship.

IF YOUR CHURCH SUPPORTS YOU AND THE OPERATING BUDGET FOR STUDENT MINISTRIES…
Propose a scenario for the operating budget that relieves the financial tension for the ministry overall. Here at Gateway I am responsible to raise funds for 100% of the operating budget. When I setup my budget I have income lines and expense lines. I do not try to make money off of the students but for whatever I spend I have to take in to cover it. The non activity related margin outside of camp and events is raised through our annual fund raising banquet. I raise close to half of my operating budget through a dinner for 200-250 friends of the Uprising. We cast vision, share stories, and position an ask to our community to partner with us as we chase after students and reach out to them in NW Austin.

Last year for the entire program we were over $700. But at the end of the year the church only ended up paying $700 of our operating budget. Because I don’t want to be a full time fundraiser I only take one stab at it with the banquet and that’s it. Our program has monthly activities, summer camp ministry, and house churches throughout the week. The total operating budget is $56K for a ministry of 250-275 average attending students.

If you feel you have that kind of credibility with your leaders propose that you raise the operating budget for a season to free up more funds. That may sound completely crazy to you but maybe it’s the kind of situation that would never enter the mind of your leadership.

What I have noticed is that it has enlarged our community of awareness. People are more tied in to what we do. I have great support from the church to promote the banquet and ask for camp scholarship help. It’s hard work for a 60 day period while we have the banquet but it’s very rewarding to get the students in front of church members, community members, parents, and friends so that they can see a face with the story.

If you have questions about this you can tweet a dm to me and we will setup a time to talk. I also want to say that  the mission of YoungLife does this every year and has incredible people that are probably in your neighborhood who could help you with ideas and tips.

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chadswanzy@churchleaders.com'
Chad Swanzy has served in youth ministry for 15 years and currently works as the student ministry director at Gateway Community Church in Austin, Texas. Learn more from Chad and ask him your questions at ChadSwanzy.com.