[ym360 Note: The is the third post in a series we'll run every once in a while, where we bring the voices of youth workers to the blog. To read the other "Youth Worker Sound Offs", click here and here.] Last week we ran a contest on our Facebook wall to give away a free copy of Tim Schmoyer's new book Life in Student Ministry. To enter the contest, we asked that youth workers answer one question. The question? What is the best youth ministry advice you've ever been given? We received close to 80 responses! We included the top 20 in this post. (To read them all head on over to the ym360 Facebook wall.) Check them out! Who knows: maybe you can learn something from the advice that's been passed on to these youth workers. Feel free to pass along your own "best advice" in the comment section at the end of the post.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.
Never stop reading!
The best advice I ever received was from one of my student ministry professors. When asked about discipleship he said that discipleship is not teaching a class or preaching a sermon. Discipleship is about living life with our students and letting them see just how much we love Jesus and how our lives reflect that.
It'll be the hardest, most stretching thing you'll ever do. But Christ is with you, and it'll be worth it.
The M.I.T. (Most Important Thing) is your walk with God.
Disciple while being discipled.
Stay true to the Word. Preach the Bible, Jesus, and the Cross.
Attend at least five funerals and two weddings before you try to make any changes in programming. Earn the trust capital to make the needed changes. With student ministry, this can be extended to include attending ball games, taking late night phone calls/texts, and walking with students and families through difficult times. Earn their trust first, then implement the vision God has given you.
‚Äé"You can not give what you don't have." I need to be filled up before I can pour out to others.
That you can't please everyone.
You're the captain of the boat. It's not a captain's job to make sure the boat doesn't rock, but that the ship stays pointed in the right direction...‚Ä®‚Ä®Basically: Stuff is going to happen, make sure you keep sight of the destination of your Student Ministry.
Don't try to be cool...try to connect!
Focus on what God has called you to, compare yourself only to Christ and scripture and adjust accordingly.
Don't be afraid to go slow when starting at a new ministry.
Don't focus on numerical growth; focus on being a healthy group. Anything that is healthy grows.
Given to me by my college pastor before accepting my first YM position: Build a great team of leaders right off the bat; make it a priority even over getting to know students.
#1 Get out now.‚Ä®‚Ä®If you choose to ignore #1, then...‚Ä®#2 Commit at the beginning to be there until the end.
if you teach truly, you'll truly teach.
Stop trying so hard and just be yourself, be transparent. Do life together...relationships are better than programs.
Know how and when to delegate responsibilities... you can't and shouldn't do everything on your own.
And a bonus piece of advice . . .
Try the fajita burrito. (That one's an inside joke, but still, really good advice.) So . . . What advice has been given to you that you found super helpful in doing ministry? Pass it along in the comments section below!