Coming Soon?

Tony Myles —  November 16, 2013 — 16 Comments

There’s an unconscious irony for pastors and youth workers after watching a preview of the movie Noah.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:

noah_smMuch like God spoke to Noah and told him what was to come, we have the opportunity to prepare for what’s ahead. Whether or not this movie is “100% accurate,” we will have the opportunity to talk about God and the Bible when our culture tunes in for a moment.

Think about some of the things we should brush up on now:

  • Who was Noah?
  • How old was Noah… really?
  • Will God punish people? If so, why? If not, why? And, for that matter, should He?
  • Theories of evolution vs creation vs flood theory
  • How big was the ark?
  • How many animals were on it?
  • What about the dinosaurs?

This is only scratching the surface.

  1. What does this mean for you?
  2. Will you take your students to see this?
  3. What else should we be brushing up on?

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:3-6)

I hate planning for trips, events and program because it’s calling me to embrace administrative duties that I’m not good at doing.  I’d rather be on a mountain, hanging out at a burger joint or shooting a basketball with a group of teens, than figuring out the cheapest way to feed them on a Sunday night.  When you started out in youth ministry you probably had dreams of hanging with students, mentoring and walking with them in faith.  While you should be doing that, as you become more seasoned there is a pull to manage and lead from an administrative standpoint.  You might feel like fighting that urge and grow guilty when you are stuck behind a desk.  However, it’s prudent to embrace the administrative side of youth ministry because it will help you as a leader:

  • Extend Your Capacity
  • Solve Big Picture Problems
  • Fuel A Movement

So, how do you embrace your administrative duties?  How can you grow as a leader?  Remember to:

Study Outside Systems:  To lead a ministry takes more than just being relational.  As a leader you need to study successful models.  This means learning how to do customer service from Chick-fil-a or how to sell an idea like Apple.  Business models, school systems and looking at other ministries will help you discover principles and practices that will help your ministry grow stronger.

Craft Your Communication Skills: Communicating clearly and consistently might come naturally to some; however, for others it takes practice and work.  Whether it’s developing email templates or reviewing a talk.  As a youth minister if you aren’t communicating to others effectively, than you won’t lead them effectively either.

Prepare, Prepare And Prepare:  You need to prepare for meetings to make them worth people’s time.  You need to prepare for messages so that you can cast vision.  You need to build in margin into your schedule so that you are not always flying by the seat of your pants.  A prepared individual is confident and able to roll with the punches youth ministry can literally (Middle Schoolers can get nasty) and figuratively bring.

The administrative side of youth ministry is definitely not as attractive as sitting with a teen in the trenches.  The tendency is to fight these responsibilities; however, if neglected they can harm you in the long run.  As the youth pastor of your church you are not only called to lead individual students but also the young church.  To do this effectively you need to pour into your leaders.  You need to organize systems and sometimes that means embracing administrative duties.


What administrative duty do you struggle to embrace the most?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)



I know that students are busy these days with extra curricular sports, music lessons, part time jobs and various other activities that lead to their perpetual business but last week it just got out of hand. A student who has been involved in our ministry for several months told me that, regrettably, she could not attend youth anymore. Her explanation for not being able to attend on Thursday nights: I have to ride my other horse! WHAT??? Other horse? I don’t have A horse let alone two. While I was not surprised that this happened, and it’s been a funny story to tell, it has caused me to think about what we can do to approach this issue.

Recently I heard Doug Fields talking about speaking to students and commented that when it comes to preaching “more isn’t better, better is better” and I think that rings true of all programming as well. If we get to see a student in our building one night a week it becomes important that we make the most of that opportunity. We have recently extended the length of our program to 2.5 hours and students show up as much as 3 hours early just to connect and spend time with leaders. We have moved away from multiple events per week to doing one major event per week and trying to do it really well. If we expect students to prioritize being at Youth, we need to prioritize making sure that when they come, we are ready for them. I would hate to be unprepared and waste an opportunity to speak into their lives if we only see them once a week.

So what can we do to deal with our busy students?

1- Don’t be discouraged! Easier said than done, but if an event is poorly attended it’s easy to be frustrated at all the work that went in to it. Just make sure you don’t take it out on the ones who showed up with your disappointed attitude but take the opportunity to give more of yourself to a smaller group.

2- Plan ahead: if its on the calendar far enough out and you promote it well or even better have a successful history with that event, students will schedule around it. Less is more with events, have fewer and make them can’t miss events and students will be there in force

3- Model it: If we are encouraging students to live lives that aren’t jammed packed with activities, we need to be the first to do it. Showing that balance is attainable gives our words more traction when we confront their fatigue and chronic activity.

4- Point them to Jesus: This is the most important thing we can show them, because we need to show students that in the midst of redeeming the world, Jesus found time to be alone, and not with people, or doing His ministry. It’s our responsibility to point our students to His example.

Not every student has two horses to ride, but I am sure you have all encountered students who have forever bouncing from one thing event to another. How are you dealing with it and encouraging students to have balance in their lives?

Geoff Stewart is the Pastor of Jr & Sr High School for Journey Student Ministries at Peace Portal Alliance Church and regularly contributes GUEST POSTS to MTDB. You can, too! See how right here.