You embrace the stereotypes and you hate them at the same time. Youth ministers have a lot to overcome in order to be taken seriously. Many times it’s due to a lack of credibility.
You work hard. You work long hours and sometimes it goes unnoticed. The question then becomes, “Where do I get the credibility I desperately crave?”
It doesn’t happen overnight, in fact it takes patience and persistence. But the best place to start is:
WITH YOUR PASTOR
He’s a big advocate for your ministry (probably bigger than you). He can reach more people and help clarify all the misconceptions.To get your pastor advocating on your behalf, start:
- Investing in Him: Take the time to get to know him and learning how to serve him. When he sees that you care about him, he’ll further invest in you.
- Keeping Him in the Loop: He might not know youth and that’s reason to stay away from it. While you can invite him to check out the ministry, just keep him in the loop of what’s happening in your ministry and youth culture.
Get your pastor on board and watch your credibility grow.
WITH YOUR COMMUNICATIONS
Are your emails clear and organized? Do you respond on time to inquiries and concerns? How you communicate will impact whether people see you as reliable.
To evaluate your communication strategy, talk to people you trust. Have them give you feedback on what looks and works well. Follow people who specialize in these areas like Michael Hyatt and Patrick Lencioni.
WITH YOUR PRESENCE
While you cannot be available to everyone, you can make yourself more visible. Are you present on the weekends? Do you show up to key events in the community?
Get in the habit of introducing yourself to parents, teens and members of your church when you encounter them. Let them know who you are and what you do (even if it’s for the billionth time).
WITH YOUR VISION
The reason you struggle to find credibility is because people do not know what your ministry is trying to accomplish. Creating a vision statement is one of the key steps to clarifying it.
Craft a vision statement and share it. Share it with the teens, their parents, your volunteers and anyone you come across. It’ll create conversations that will lead into a better understanding of what it is you do.
If you want people to take you seriously, you need to know how to engage them. Invest in them and allow them to get to know you. The more they see the work you put in on a regular basis, the more they’ll understand why what you do matters.
How do you build credibility in your ministry?