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A Safe Person Outside of Your Youth Ministry

Josh Griffin —  July 27, 2011 — 4 Comments

Last night I spent some significant time with a great friend well outside of the day-to-day operations of our church.

He’s one of the few people that understands and gets me and what I do more than anyone else. He was a youth pastor in the past and his insight, wisdom and listening ear alone made me walk away refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of another season of youth ministry.

Reflecting on it this morning made me so thankful to have him in my life, and brought back memories of that dark period early in my career when I did youth ministry alone. I didn’t know better. I was a lone ranger. I was living dangerously. And today I just wanted to encourage you to find someone like this in your life – they’ll be more valuable to you then you will ever know:

  • You need a safe person to vent to when things get tough
  • You need someone with an outside perspective to shine some light on things
  • You need someone who will set you straight when you’re wrong
  • Sometimes you just need someone to listen to your thoughts
  • We all want someone to cheer us on

You can get some of these things from a youth worker network, from podcasts and even blogs to a degree. But there’s nothing better than a late night hang at Denny’s with a real friend with no agenda.

Don’t stop searching until you find one.

JG

Josh Griffin

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4 responses to A Safe Person Outside of Your Youth Ministry

  1. Couldn’t agree more. Having a person or two that can listen and offer advice, correction, and encouragement from a perspective that is outside of your specific church is so helpful. I’ve found that the best guys to fill that role for me are guys that will challenge me on some of my frustrations. In other words, I don’t need a guy that will agree with me all the time, but instead I need someone who knows me well enough to know my blind spots, and who has the wisdom to know when to call me out and encourage me to change things about myself to deal with frustrations. The “no agenda” part is crucial, as often specific agendas can inhibit honest conversation, at least in my experience. There are few things that are as life giving as those “no agenda” times with trusted friends. Thanks for this encouragement about how important they are.

  2. I feel very fortunate to have three men in life who fill this role: a best friend who is a youth pastor in another town, a role model / mentor who has had significant influence on my life, marriage, and ministry, and a director within our conference who is responsible for youth pastor care and is full of time-tested wisdom. I could trust these guys with anything and know that they love me enough to speak the truth even if it hurts.

  3. Andy Lawrenson July 28, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Excellent advice!

  4. In any ministry that is absolutely critical. More than one such person would be great. Someone outside your “chain of command” completely so that you can be honest without fear and so can they. Awesome advice! Not just for pastors or other people who make a living in ministry but anyone in any leadership role even volunteers need to have this type of support.

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