After two years of youth ministry I felt like I got in a groove. I knew my roles and responsibilities. I wasn’t shocked when a parent addressed a concern with emotion. I was comfortable asking others to get involved; life was good. Then five years rolled by and everything started to click. I felt like I understood systems and structures. I was okay with droughts in creativity and multitasking.
As each year ticks by your level of confidence as a youth minister will grow. And that’s because with each year you gain experiential wisdom. It’s priceless and so beneficial; however, it alone will not take your youth ministry to the next level. There are going to be opportunities that you need to take advantage of that will launch you to the next level.
These opportunities are like launching pads. You focus on them, you make them a part of your mantra and they take you to the next level. Three of those launching pads are:
Spiritual Accountability – On a daily basis you are pouring into others. Whether it’s teenagers, their parents or your own team, you are draining yourself continuously. While we know the source for replenishment lies with God, we need men and women who are going to help us out. Three ways you should embrace spiritual accountability are through an Adult Small Group and One on One Spiritual Direction. You need people reminding you to trust in the Lord, because without Him nothing is possible.
Embrace Risk – Taking chances is a habit that many of us need to embrace. It’s not about being clumsy or careless, taking risk means getting over our fears to do something big. To embrace risk properly you need to Trust in God, Gather Insight and Lean Into The Tension. Granted it might be scary; however, people will want to follow you, because they’ll see your courage. People want a leader who isn’t afraid to fail and will do what it takes to succeed.
Collaborate With Peers – If you aren’t working and networking with other youth ministers than you are traveling a very lonely road. When you can network with peers in youth ministry you open yourself up to some awesome ideas. You give yourself the opportunity to learn, think outside the box and problem solve with a new perspective. When you work with the other guys, they’ll show you how to get to the next level. Three places to collaborate are Through Social Media, Over A Cup Of Coffee and Attending Conferences. Get together with others.
It’s important to ask yourself the question, “How can I continue to grow as a professional youth minister?” When you utilize the right launching pads you answer that question.
What other opportunities can we embrace to take youth ministry to the next level?
Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more great youth ministry articles and thoughts on his exceptional blog Marathon Youth Ministry.