No matter where you serve, you will make mistakes… 

The first mistake I made at the present ministry I am serving at was thinking I had all the answers.  Boy was I wrong.  You will make mistakes wherever you serve.  It’s just going to happen.  And I don’t moral failures, I mean mistakes.  You are not perfect.  You are not going to do everything right.  But, what I have learned from my past 6 years at the Church I am at is that our mistakes are there to help us learn and grow.

My son is on this kick with wanting to watch the movie “Home.”  It’s about this race of alien known as the Boov who have come to take over planet Earth.  One of the humans says to a Boov named, “Oh,” “My mom always told me that our mistakes are what make us, ‘Human.'”

Just go ahead and admit it to yourself, you will make mistakes.  And, at the end of the six years that I have served at my current Church, I look back on my ministry and think on certain things that I would have done differently, and that’s ok, because nobody is perfect.  Thank God for Grace.

No matter where you serve, you will have hard days…

I would be lying to you if I told you that Youth Ministry is easy.  The past 6 years, I put my heart and soul into this ministry.  I prayed, and prayed, and prayed.  I cried, and cried.  I had anxiety and worries.  I had hard days.  Knowing the hurt and pain that many teenagers are going through.  Knowing the doubts and questions they have.  Knowing current family situations and past regrets and mistakes.  It is not easy.  Then, on top of it all, you may not see the fruit that you had hoped to see.  Youth ministry is hard.  One of my all-time favorite quotes is from author, Mark Yaconelli, where he says,

“If you have a group of twelve kids who don’t understand your illustrations and one of them wants to kill you, you have a youth group just like Jesus.”

Priceless!  Remember, youth ministry is not easy, but it’s not supposed to be!  You are dealing with teenagers.  Remember being one?  It takes a special person to do youth ministry.  My hardest days were spent on my knees… We can’t do this alone.  You need God…

No matter where you serve, if you aren’t growing your ministry won’t grow…

One of my best friends, and a great mentor in youth ministry, once told me that in order for your ministry to grow, you need to show them how to grow by living by example.  If you aren’t doing it, how do you expect them to?  You can only take your ministry as far as you can go.  You must keep growing, keep studying, keep learning…

The last 6 years of my ministry has been learning that.  Once I realized that I can only take them as far as I have gone, I began to dig deep, studying God’s Word, spending time in prayer.  And God does amazing things through prayer.

No matter where you serve, make the important thing the important thing…

Over the past 6 years, one thing I have grown a strong distaste in is games.  Now, we used to be real big on games and prizes and trying to “bribe” students to come to Bible Study by offering free t-shirts and candy and soda and a good time.  However, when that became the important thing in their eyes, Bible Study was wasted.  It was only when I began to make Bible Study and Discipleship the important thing did they begin to see it.  It is true what they say, “What you win them with is what you win them to.”  (I don’t know who they is.)  Remember that.

No matter where you serve, make your priorities a priority…

Over the past 6 years I had to learn to make my priorities a priority.  Many nights I wanted to be at the ball games and many nights I wanted to plan events for students, but I need to make sure that my priorities were in place.  Family comes first.  I couldn’t neglect my family.  You can always find another Church to work at, but you won’t always find another family.  Other priorities included my daily time with God through Bible Study and prayer.  I needed to make sure I separated that from my prep time for Bible Studies with the youth ministry.  Make sure you make your priorities a priority in youth ministry.

I have learned so much more than this within my time at my current Church.  And at the end of this week, I will be leaving my current Church to pursue a different opportunity and I am excited to see what else I will be learning there.

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