What are the responsibilities involved in a Youth Minister Position?
My name is Abby I am a Senior in high school and I have been looking into the field of ministry. The idea of this job interests me because of it being tied into my faith, and also because it seems to utilize the skills I have, as far as I can tell. I am curious to know what are the different responsibilities involved in being a youth pastor? #ministry #youth-ministry
I have worked as a youth minister, and in various capacities in congregational ministry. Others have mentioned that this is ministry, and you're called to it by God and by your sense of how you can serve God and God's people. That is true.
People in ministry are also called by the people in the congregations they serve. It would be helpful for you to ask your pastor or someone else you respect in your congregation to help you figure out whether your call is genuine.
You know, in the Blues Brothers movie, how Dan Akroyd's character was always saying "We're on a mission from God!" When you hear these words in your heart, or when you hear someone else say them, it's helpful to ask "how do you know?" That's what I mean by figuring out whether your call is genuine. Various churches have a service of installation for ministers and church staff. You may want to read through the promises you'll make, and the promises your congregation will make, if you take up this work. Can you make those promises without reservation?
Now you've got the job. What do you do next? Pray continually for one very important thing.
Your supervisor is probably an ordained minister. Keep your supervisor informed. Ask for advice whenever you need it. "What's up with Joey and Charlie? They always sit in the back goofing around. How can I engage them?"
This may be your first job, so you may need to learn to work. Make it a point to show up on time and pay attention. Keep in mind that not every ordained minister is a tremendously talented organizer or supervisor: you may get vague or conflicting instructions. Ask for clarification. Ask for priorities. You might even ask your supervisor, "please help me learn to work effectively."
Prepare. Always have a schedule for an event. If your event involves scripture or other textual content, study it ahead of time. Consider asking for help putting the words in context.
It's like herding butterflies. A big part of the job is organizing and communicating events. You'll need to talk to the young people in your congregation all the time, AND THEIR PARENTS AND FAMILIES. You need to tell them about the Bible study or laser-tag evening or whatever, and then remind them to show up on time. It's surprisingly hard -- and frustrating, honestly -- to get people to show up. You'll feel, a lot, like the flight attendant right before arrival. "We know you have lots of choices about how to spend Friday evening, and we thank you for spending it with us."
Get to know the parents and families, as well as the kids. If you have evening events, invite the parents to participate in the closing worship/prayer circle at pickup time.
Try to have at least one person-to-person conversation with each person in your ministry. Ask them "what's your story" and open-ended questions. Get to know their joys and burdens.
If your group starts with 13-year-olds, get to know the 10-12 year olds and their parents and church school teachers.
Get to know the person who keeps the lists of church members: maybe the office manager. Work closely and cooperatively with this person; you'll occasionally need a favor, and the best way to get favors is to be respected.The office manager probably knows a lot of families' situations too, so you can ask for butterfly-herding suggestions.
Your group may ask you to pray publicly with them. Fine. But keep in mind that your job is to teach them to pray for one another and the world. You're the coach, not the quarterback (to use an American football metaphor).
At least in the US, teenagers don't have many opportunities to learn to speak with confidence in public. If your program permits, encourage your young people to get involved in public reading of scripture and other things to help them claim the authority of the Gospel for themselves. Coach them on clarity and presence ("speak slowly, don't mumble, stand up straight, speak from your heart.")
Don't take anything personally. Don't panic if there are challenging situations. Easy to say, hard to do. Just remember that your group will soak up your mood.
Keep your hands to yourself. A lot of people claim that "goes without saying." Sorry, it doesn't go without saying. Part of your ministry is to love these people. Beware drifting from agape to eros. (Look those words up; psychologists call it "countertransference" and it's dangerous.)
Pray continually. Give thanks in ALL circumstances.
And have fun. Youth ministry is a great way to serve God and God's people.
The first responsibility of a youth pastor is that they should be some that has placed their faith in the person and character of Christ. Beyond that, the youth pastor should be committed to prayer and study of the Bible. Most importantly, the youth pastor should have understanding of the culture and context of the youth they are working with.
Be confident that in God's word, he has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 3:1). Moreover, do life with the youth. My students learned more about God through me sharing my successes and failures in real time. They knew I was not perfect, but I was striving for holiness.
Use technology to engage parents and youth (periscope, twitter, instagram). When you speak their language, students understand and listen (Acts 2).
Read everything, The men of Issachar understood the times and knew what to do (1 Chr. 12:32).
Developed innovate and expose kids to how God works in other context and creation.
I thought I would highlight some specific skills that are needed in a youth ministry role:
- Planning - you can fly by the seat of your pants for a while, but it is not sustainable. Involve others and plan for both the short term and long term.
- Interpersonal skills - You will have to interact with all ages within the church: youth, parents, guardians, grandparents, coworkers, hotel managers, bus companies, retreat leaders, choir directors, church administrators, and on and on. Being adept at working with this myriad of others will build a foundation that is sustainable for the program.
- Communication - tell parents and volunteers what you're doing tell them often and in multiple formats. Of course, you need to tell youth what's going on, but if you let the supporting adults around the youth know what's going on regularly and in advance, you will gain their trust and support. Parents are always frustrated to find out about the Friday night get -together from their students after school on the same Friday.
- Collaboration - similar to interpersonal skills, youth ministry is not sustainable with the youth leader at the center. First, that misses the point completely. Youth ministers point to Jesus, they (themselves) are not Jesus. Working with others and giving away pieces of the program to qualified volunteers will make the ministry sustainable, even if you decide to move on.
- Be grateful in a conscious hands-on way, continually let the others with responsibilities that have a hand in the formation of the spiritual lives of students, that they are appreciated and crucial to the success of your efforts. Send them hand-written thank-you notes. Take them for coffee and say thank you. Send your volunteers a Valentine's Day card and thank them for loving the church's students. Recognize them in worship. Strong volunteers make for strong ministry programs.
I could go on and on.
Blessings on you Abby.
The youth pastor may organize the youth group and schedule Bible studies, youth group parties, outings such as ski trips and mission trips. He might organize a trip and accompany a group to a foreign country for a week-long summer mission. In some churches, the youth pastor might also organize activities for young adults.
A youth pastor acts as a counselor and adviser, as well as simply offering a listening ear at times. A youth pastor must be able to maintain confidences and give advice in a way that doesn't alienate teens.
However, a youth pastor must also set appropriate boundaries and follow proper procedures to avoid any misinterpretation of his actions; some churches send youth pastors for training in maintaining proper boundaries. Youth pastors also provide feedback and input to senior pastors.
The youth pastor may teach the weekly Bible study at church or organize more informal Bible studies during the week.
He/She needs a solid knowledge of the Bible and their church's teachings. Parents who attend a church want to know that their youth pastor has the same values and beliefs that they do, and that they want their children to have.
Youth pastors have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
Have a great career!!