If you do these 3 things well in youth ministry, you’ll do alright:
Always be a learner – read everything you can get your hands on in whatever field you can. Push your thinking. Create an idea file. Open an Evernote account and when something strikes you – write it down. Learn from your mistakes. Make the same mistakes as few times as possible (hey it happens). Learn the easy way. Try new things. Always experiment with ideas that could be the breakthrough to make you more effective in your calling. Spend time with God and let Him lead you more than any other voice.
Be a lover of people. Only take the best volunteers. Believe in people. Surround yourself with good people – people who will lead you well and people you can lead well. Together you will work together to keep your ministry healthy and balanced on the eternal purposes of God. Have the hard conversations. Push for the best idea, not the easiest. Don’t be afraid of speaking your mind, but remember that the best leaders listen first.
This is a tough one – so many youth ministry departures are in less than ideal conditions. But transition is a test of your character and if you leave poorly you’ll probably repeat many of the mistakes. Dialogue what you think God may be asking you to do next. Have mentors at the ready when you feel God’s nudging. Working hard until the last day, making sure the transition plan is in place and fighting for a good handoff is the only way to go.
I’m timing this post to tonight at 7:45pm, when I’ll be sharing these words about Ryanne Witt at her going away party this evening. Ryanne is leaving our high school staff (after a total of 7 years at Saddleback in various roles) to work with my good friend Matt McGill over at Mariner’s Church. Ryanne, thanks for doing these 3 things so well and more. Proud of you and where God takes you from here.