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How is Youth Ministry like ? Do you guys talk to young kids and teens most of the time ?

I want to begin a career in Youth Ministry, but I want to know what it is like to be in the Youth Ministry. #youth-ministry

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Ollie’s Answer

I've worked as a minister and as a youth minister.

What's it like? Practically speaking, it takes a lot of planning and organizing. You'll be organizing events for your young people. You may be fortunate enough to organize retreats and camp experiences for them too.

It takes a lot of phone calls, other communication, and patience. You need to keep the young people and their parents informed, and get them to show up and participate. Honestly, getting people to show up can be frustrating: middle- and high- schoolers have a lot of demands on their time, and church activities aren't always #1.

You'll be blitzed with sales pitches for various programs and stuff, from two-week mission trips to Kenya to "youth bibles" to WWJD pins. There are LOTS of businesses, and lots of well-meaning people, trying to make a living selling stuff to people who actually DO youth ministry. Jesus said something about being wise like serpents and innocent like doves. Yeah. When you deal with sales pitches, that's good advice.

If you serve a congregation, you'll probably be supervised by the minister / pastor / priest / rabbi. You need to develop a good relationship with her or him, where you're being supported and taught. Many clergy started out doing youth ministry, so they have experience. If you serve a church camp or other denominational program your supervision will be more consistent, but probably not as spiritual. (Keep in mind that every situation is unique.)

Get somebody else to drive the van.

Be careful about something: men serving with children and young people are automatically suspect these days. Follow the rule of threes: always have at least three people in a room: two adults and one teenager, or two teenagers and one adult. For kids younger than about 14, the rule is always two adults. Always ALWAYS have at least two adults in the building. If you must wait with the last kid to be picked up from some event, wait outside the building on the sidewalk where you and the kid are visible to the public. (Your job may have stricter safe church rules: if so follow them. If your job's rules are not as strict as these, that's a real problem.)

Somebody once asked me "how many souls did you save today?" The honest answer is "I don't know." You never know what word you said or action you did opened somebody's heart. Often they don't know themselves until many years later. Don't measure your success by immediate results.

Brother Paul told his church at Thessalonika to "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances." Yeah. Do that. It's good advice, especially when things get tough.