Are You Healthy Enough For Youth Ministry?

This is the fifth and final post in my series on re-evaluating your youth ministry volunteers, and it may be the most important.

Often times a person will hide their health (all kinds) to keep their job. People want to keep their job so they’ll hide or mask the fact that there is something wrong so they won’t be fired, demoted, etc.

Think of football players. They know that their is a second and third string right behind them. They know that if they go down, someone could take their place. Commentators and the general public reward, with praise, this kind of sacrifice.

I remember Robert Griffin III playing one night. He was really injured on a play, coach Mike Shanahan put him back in. Everyone could see that Griffin was really injured, but out he went, only to get injured even further.

Our volunteers are the same. It’s possible that they, in their minds, have a “powerful” position. It’s a role that gives them purpose and hope and if they were to lose it, it would crush them.

Now, there are various levels of “injuries” a football player can sustain and still play. Broken fingers, strained wrists, etc. None of those are optimum but guys are taught to “play through the pain.”

As believers we can and do sustain “injuries” and can still function. We are wounded healers. We have to deal with unhappy people, jerks who hurt our feelings with their opinions, and just plain mean people who do not like us. Youth Pastors have to shoulder on and get results, but we should do our volunteers one better.

We should offer our volunteers a no fear evaluation. Out evaluations should be a kindness, a check up to prevent any injuries or sickness.

Evaluations shouldn’t be solely performance reviews. If we are the leaders we are also the team doctors. We determine if a player can or should play if the are not 100%

The kinds of injuries I look for are Mental, Emotional and Spiritual.

Mental 

I’m not a psychiatrist or psychologist but I still have to evaluate someone’s mental capacity to drive a bus, teach a lesson, etc. Mental capacity does not mean I am seeing if the person is “crazy” but rather has the fluidity to perform in certain roles.

There are some leaders who lack a filter. The spout off whatever they want whenever they want to whoever they want. These kinds of leaders might be great for tasks at events, but not for a small group leader.

Emotional

People carry wounds in their hearts like many carry around scars on their body. People who are constantly bringing up how people have hurt them, slighted them, left hem out, etc. are not well emotionally, They haven’t dealt with the hurt and the pain they received.

Leaders are there to minister to kids, not rant on about their lives and how unfair life has been to them. People who are not emotionally well suck all the oxygen out of the room and make every thing about them through rehearsing how they received their injury.

Much like athletes who never got their shot at greatness because of such and such (think Kevin from This Is Us) they re-tell the stories of what could have been. The live in the past rather than the present.

Spiritual

Some wounds go deeper than our emotions and drip, like poison, into or spirits. These are the worst kinds of injuries. They are life debilitating because they tint how we look at life.

Spiritual wounds often look like bitterness, un-forgiveness, easily offended, unable to receive instruction, love, or discipline. These are the kinds of wounds, if left unattended, will sideline them from doing the kinds of ministry they would like to do.

We have to be prayed up and perceptive. Some youth workers see their goal as running a great youth program because they were hired to. Be that as it may, God asks us to, occasionally, play team doctor and evaluate those playing on our team, offer prayer, advice, support, therapy, etc.  whatever we can to help our volunteers become the healthiest people they can be. Healthy people make great volunteers.

Although the football player doesn’t like when the team doctor tells them they cannot return to the game because of a concussion and they feel that the doctor is ruining their career, that doctor may be saving that mans life so he can have a life after football.

Listen, it’s only youth ministry, it’s not life.  My role as believer supersedes my role as a Youth Pastor. If I have to sit someone out (including myself) and “the game” suffers, so be it, but I have to care more about that persons well being than I care about how well the program is running.

We cannot fix or cure anyone, that’s Jesus’ job but we should always take stock of the mental, emotional, and spiritual well being of our team. Failure to do so means their will be a lot of “time outs” for injury and we’ll see our youth programs suffer and our kids not receiving the best care from healthy people.

Internally, with a small team or with your Pastor, evaluate those you lead with questions like,

Are they healthy enough to lead a small group?

Are they healthy enough to mentor someone else?

Are they healthy enough to preach?

While we’re at it, we should also put ourselves though the same kinds of injury protocols. After all, youth ministry isn’t life, is it?

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Can You Tell me A Story?

My 4th question in this series  for re-evaluating volunteers is, “Can you tell me a story?”. Every youth ministry has a narrative. We are a collection of stories but we tend to focus on numbers, activity, and logistics.

Stories matter. Stories tell me what kind of impact you’re making. Stories reveal the characters you are impacting and might reveal the plot that that is developing,  I don’t even mind if they brag a little, boast in Christ’s name of what God has been doing in them and through them.

The other half of this story is about “How is this youth ministry is impacting you?” I want to know who’s touching your heart, what are you learning (from students) through the ministry, and what is God teaching you in the midst of your ministry to students?

I could go deeper into story and ask them to each share how they would like their story change. What twist would they like too see and maybe how they would like to see their story in youth ministry end.

This last question is important because I am asking them to dream and then embrace practices that will increase the chances that they are getting the ending they are looking for. In addition to getting what they want our students are going to get motived leader seeking to write a better story for themselves and, ultimately, our youth ministry.

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. – Melodie Beattie

What’s your story?

Join me tomorrow for part five.

 

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Is Your Mission Big Enough?

This is the third post in my series about evaluating your youth ministry volunteers. If you do not happen to have a team, this would be great questions to ask yourself if you feel your own commitment slacking.

Small church youth ministries struggle because the mission isn’t big enough not only to keep kids engaged, but to keep kids growing. I find this also to be true with volunteers whose commitment is waning.

This is not only a question for my volunteers but for me as well as I set the pace for our youth ministry, Posing the question to my volunteers may be the key to finding our where I need to broaden their vision as to the importance of why they are there.

This personal mission statement may reveal new roles and responsibilities I need to create which give them a greater satisfaction and a greater sense of purpose.

I may start with the question: What do you believe your personal mission is when you walk into the youth room? My guess is, non one has one, which means I need to help them craft one. This may be taken care of in one of our month LIFT meetings.

I will ask our volunteers to prayerfully consider what their personal mission and, once that is established, ask them how that fits into the overall scheme of things. It will be interesting to hear the answers but here are some that may come to their mind

To help you help the youth

To help kids find Jesus

To do whatever you ask of me

Now, I’m giving the basest of answers, they could surprise me and I will let you know if they do.

Once we have cemented personal missions of each of the volunteers, I may ask our students to do the same.

My missions has been the same for 28 years

    1. Create an an atmosphere to know God (worship, fellowship,)
    1. 2. Create an environment to serve God (se
    rvice, leadership)
    This has kept me focused and has kept me in the game when I felt like quitting.
    If you have a personal mission statement each week you walk in to serve young people, what is it?

Next Question: Can You Tell Me A Story? http://thediscipleproject.net/can-you-tell-me-a-story/

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Youth Ministry Volunteer Expectations In 100 Words Or Less

My expectations for our adult youth ministry leaders

1. Don’t do for kids what kids can do for themselves.

2. Change is good if it helps us reach our goals.

3. Leaders are learners.

4. Do things with excellence. The church is not a second class organization.

5. Take kids from Connection, to Community, to Co-laborers in Christ

To Join The Team

Attend church for at least six months

Complete Pastor’s Covenant Partner class

Interview with me.

Attend a LIFT Event

Attend a LIFT Meeting

Attend a Team LIFT Meeting

Given a role and a responsibility

(99 Words)

 

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