Youth Ministry Do’s

Josh Griffin —  February 21, 2013 — 1 Comment

article.2013.02.20This week we’re taking on a few youth ministry do’s and don’ts! With our experience, we’ve learned a few things about both sides of this—we’ve both had some solid successes and some epic failures! Would love for you to read these, and then add your own in the comments, too. Here are some things we think are big time “Do’s”!

DO stay committed to the basics.
Youth ministry isn’t rocket science. In fact, some of the most important parts of a healthy youth ministry are actually quite simple: remembering names, following up with a newcomer, visiting a sick student at the hospital, sending a birthday card, remembering prayer requests, etc. Staying faithful to the basics is often what makes the biggest difference.

DO work to win the trust of parents.
I (Kurt) have a favorite saying: “If parents are for you, who can be against you?” And one of the best ways to get parents “for you” is to earn their trust. Here are three simple things that help build trust with parents.

  • Consistent and accurate communication
  • Treating their children well
  • Having a “transparent” ministry where parents questions, concerns, etc. are welcomed

DO empower your leaders.
Your ministry’s ability to grow, expand and advance the Kingdom is largely determined by your ability to empower your volunteer team and give them mass amounts of ownership and responsibility.

DO get out of the walls of the church and look around!
There is a big, wide world of youth culture out there that you need to understand! Read what your students read, watch what they watch, and listen to what they listen to…not because you like it, but because you care enough to be educated. Hang out at the movie theater on a Friday night and take mental notes. Volunteer to chaperone the winter formal. Good church work often requires getting away from the church!

DO take care of yourself.
We know you hear this one all the time, but you’re going to hear it again! Your ministry really is only as healthy as its leader.

Those are a few things we thing every youth worker needs to DO! What would you add to this list?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

article.2013.01.29Church office hours—what a great subject! And while this might not specifically apply to everyone getting the newsletter, we’re hoping there are some principles that will help everyone, whatever their role is in youth ministry. So how do you make the administrative side of ministry work? Here are a few ideas that have helped me a ton:

Make your preferred method of communication known.
If you are a phone person, put your phone number everywhere and on everything. If you hate the phone (like me!) make sure that everything points to the way you work best. In my case, email is the most effective way to manage the incoming streams of information, complaints, and requests. I still check voicemail occasionally and have learned to live with another inbox (thanks, Facebook) but I want to make sure people know where I’m most available and where they can get the best results. Otherwise someone may be expecting an immediate phone call in return when that priority is much further down on my list. Go public with how you tick.

Don’t let others manipulate your time.
Every meeting has a starting time; why shouldn’t it have an ending time as well? Meetings, committees, and unexpected drop-ins have a way of eating up an enormous chunk of our day. And I need more Facebook time (just kidding). So when you start a meeting, lay out the goals and the time they need to be met by. When someone drops by, early in the conversation let them know your boundaries to help them find their way to the point of the drive-by. Of course, the idea here is not to create an assembly line of care or artificial community, just a candid revelation that at times you have to have good boundaries in every area of your life—even office visits.

Drop everything for pastoral care.
Okay, you might read that and go too far with it. But you are never more valuable then when there is a crisis. Get to the hospital as soon as you can. Rearrange that lunch with an old friend from college so you can go to the funeral. Don’t miss the big things, and at least be aware of the small things. Of course, remember this principle has boundaries as well, but as a general rule: When a crisis shows up, you do, too.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.