I read a blog a couple months ago titled “4 Manly Lessons from the Minor Leagues” on the website artofmanliness.com. After I read the blog post, I thought it applied wonderfully to a youth minister as well. Instead of reposting it, I decided to do a little remix on those lessons, but applied them directly to youth ministry.
Lesson #1 Find a Routine
There are a log of small stuff random things a minister deals with on a weekly basis. Our jobs usually have a few big events (youth group, small group, etc…) through the week, but many times we are dealing with small things like email, social networking, copies, cleaning youth room afterwards.
In order to stay on track easier, it is important to have a routine in your schedule. You need to establish office hours. Yes, students are in school, but their parents are not. If you have a regular office schedule, parents will call you then, if not they will call you at home. Have regular hours.
During your office hours, you need to fill in your week’s calendar. The first 30 minutes of my work week, I start off with a spreadsheet, and I will fill in the already planned moments. For me I have school visits, staff meetings, local minister meetings, lunch breaks, and home. Those are nonnegotiable, unless tragedy happens then you need to be flexible. After those are filled in, I start filling those slots up with items on my to-do lists.
Now you have a solid week’s schedule and parents will know when to call.
Lesson #2 Remember the Fundamentals
After being in the same ministry for a long period of time, you can easily start forgetting some core fundamentals of youth ministry. Every list is different, but here are my fundamentals. Pastoring, counseling, adolescent development, administration, disciplining, evangelism, and teaching. These things are not an exhaustive list, but these are the areas that for us to be reminded and remembered so it can be more regular in daily ministry.
Lesson #3 Work On Your Weakness
Currently, I am working on being a more comforting person. It is a weakness of mine and lately it seems I am doing more of it. When you work with young families, you will deal with a lot of issues and stresses. Recently, I realized after talking with someone that I felt I did an inadequate job, so instead of saying “Well I am not gifted at compassion,” I decided to study more on the subject. Will I ever be the greatest comforter? No, but I can be better.
Lesson #4 Stay Positive
Ministry breeds negativity and it can be easily burdened by another’s choice of being a grouch. You will make people upset, and they will be upset for invalid reasons, but also valid reasons. But you can choose to either sink to their level or rise above it.
To stay positive, focus on the successes that have happened in the past. I have a “Happy Folder,” where I kept mementos of the good times. Also look at the successes today, you will have students who are serving in the church and you should feel proud that you were part of that reality.
If you are looking at ministry for the long-haul, than be diligent in your routines, remember the fundamentals, work on your weakness and always stay positive.