This weekend thousands of youth pastors will be flooding the city of Indianapolis for the annual Simply Youth Ministry Conference. Sadly, I will not be one of them. My reason is totally legitimate (And it makes missing not so bad) my wife recently gave birth to our second son Benjamin. One of the aspects of the conference that I’ll miss the most is meeting, growing and praying with some really awesome men and women who are currently in the trenches of youth ministry. One of the best things about events like the Simply Youth Ministry Conference is the ability to build your network.
Networking can be easily overlooked because hanging with other youth workers can feel like time away from work. Youth ministry is demanding because there is a constant need to serve teens, parents and train volunteers. But, if you don’t take the time to sit with other youth workers you’ll lack some important tools and resources to grow in your ministry. When you network with other youth workers in the trenches you:
- Are Reminded That You Aren’t Alone – Youth ministry can be lonely because of the burdens you put on yourself. You network with other youth ministers you have a shoulder to cry on, an ear to hear your pains and a soul to pray for you.
- Have Someone To Bounce Ideas Off Of - Maybe you have that crazy idea that might just work. Chances are someone before you has tested it out and is willing to give you their insight. Networking with other youth ministers means getting feedback on what works and what doesn’t. It means recommendations on curriculum, conferences and events.
- Can Share An Outside Perspective – There will always be challenges in youth ministry. In order to approach the obstacles and situations that might be overwhelming you need someone to give you insight and wisdom. By partnering up with others they’ll give you tips on how to approach your pastor, work with helicopter parents and walk with a hurting teen.
- Will Be Encouraged In Your Calling – You will have moments when ministry feels like mud. You might have that temptation to quit, walk away and forget the whole thing; however, having a group of youth workers around you can cheer you on. Your fellow youth workers can remind you why it is God has called you into the trenches of youth ministry.
Networking isn’t wasting time, it’s building to your arsenal of resources to take on the evil one. It also makes youth ministry bigger than your church, it breaks down competition and jealousy. Working, communicating and sharing life with other youth workers will only make you stronger. Take advantage of it.
Why do you network with other youth workers?
Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)