ythology LIVE! (Episode 1) The #1 Most Meaningful Job In America
Why do we do YTH Ministry?
Is it for the authority of standing in front of a crowd? Is it about the numbers game? Are we Youth Leaders simply to prepare us for being a Lead Pastor someday? Are we simply trying to appeal to the lost one's or what some call 'the none's' (the generation who has no faith)?
The discussion on 'why' we do YTH Ministry is critical to a Youth Leader's success. To understand the 'why' is one of the initial things to consider at the beginning of our calling. Especially if we are going to be SUCCESSFUL Youth Leaders. Why do I get up every morning? I answered that 34 years ago. I wake up every morning to love teenagers to Christ. And so, when something gets in the way of that, I bring that obstacle to my meaning in life. Any success that I have attained in YTH Ministry, is because I have answered the 'why'.
There are many reasons we do YTH Ministry. But, here are two of them:
First, YTH Ministry creates SUSTAINABILITY in the Church.
No organization that is serious about long-term impact is careful with their strategic planning. Just the opposite. They are hopeful. It takes intention and execution to bring sustained success to an organization. The best long-term plan is people. And healthy relationship and leadership development.
In YTH Ministry we are shaping the next leaders in the Church. Think about this. The Children's Ministry is sending students into YTH Ministry. Much of the reason why Young Adult Ministry has floundered to find any gains in the Church is because YTH Ministry hasn't developed teenagers. And, Adult Ministry is marriage and family related and this age stage is probably set in their roles as leaders or spectators in the Church.
But YTH Ministry is the incubative setting that prepares the future leaders of the Church. What they are learning in the YTH Ministry is vital to their commitment to the Church. Students want to belong to something that is bigger than themselves. Our students are going to be finding their place spiritually, relationally, and occupationally. What a great opportunity to bring sustainability to the Church!
If the Church is in the hands of the young people that I see across our country, the Church is in great hands
There are many ways to do leadership development, but, here are two things that can help create better YTH leadership development:
- Theology cannot be neglected in Youth Ministry: If the next leaders of the Church are coming from the Youth Ministry, we better be intentional at discipleship and faith formation. Far too many Youth Groups are playing 'Ga-Ga' ball and forgetting about God. They are raising students who come to the Youth program to play '9-square' but they couldn't recite the 9 gifts of the Spirit in Corinthians. Are we raising disciples and followers, or, are we raising dodge-ballers and liker's.
- Consistent adult and student volunteer meetings - At least monthly meetings, but, bi-weekly is ideal. This can take place in small group, personal mentoring, or team meetings. Include a training time with a local leader or Skype/Google hangout with a national leader, resource to read together, calendaring, sharing wins and story time, event-planning, and prayer and worship together.
- Leadership Development from the front - This can be done in a teaching or preaching format in the youth service. Create a leadership series every year, place a leadership lesson in every series, spotlight key adult and student leaders and their involvement, and make sure that your own personal life is a model that students can follow.
Second, YTH Ministry creates story in the Church.
And story is one of the life-givers in any organization! Story tells the failure or the success of potential. And it tells the failure or success of purpose. And creating purpose out of the potential of a student is one of the most important responsibilities of a YTH leader.
Ask yourself a few questions:
-Do you know the names of the young people in your YTH Ministry?
-Do you know their family make-up?
-Do you know what their community or school involvements are?
-Do you know the stories of these students?
There are students sitting in our YTH Ministry crowd who need help on how to navigate their world. And when you have helped a teenager find their place and their purpose, it is one of the most important moments in your ministry.
There are many ways to help students create story, but, here are two things that can help create better story in YTH Ministry:
- Have students write down their dreams and goals. And remind them of those dreams and goals often. Hold them accountable to the great hope of their future. Do this in a small group setting to get even more accountability out of this.
- Create a spotlight in the youth service to tell the story of teenagers in the YTH Ministry. Give them their 5 minutes of fame in front of their peers and tell their incredible story. Schedule a student every youth service to 'take 5' or for a 'spotlight'. This can be done live or even recorded the weekend before.
Here is a great resource that demonstrates the power of story and what it does for the YTH leader. Forbes magazine did a study on The Most Meaningful Jobs in America. Number one on the list was YTH Ministers! Take a look at this article.
Maybe the pay for a YTH Minister doesn't match an Orthopedic Surgeon, but, the meaningfulness of YTH work is unparalleled. And proven YTH leadership can impact this generation much like the family. Especially in a society that has lost the stability of family.
So, why YTH Ministry?
Story in the Church. I have found that in a fatherless, motherless, and siblingless society, creating family and helping students write their stories in life is crucial. Because early story development in teens creates healthy young adults, and ultimately, healthy adults.
And healthy teens, young adults, and adults leads to sustainability and a great future for the Church!