How To Read A Youth Ministry Job Ad

I can remember wanting to be a youth pastor so bad, I would have taken any job, and I did. They were my fever dream decisions. If I had read the job description better and put on my thinking hat instead of my heart hat, I could have avoided a few things like working too much for too little and getting in over my head.

Every church ad for a YP  differs from church to church based on denomination, size of church, etc. Some churches put everything in the job description you will be doing and others out just enough to lure you in and then  CLANK! the gate slams and you’re caught.

I want you to be able to discern what a church is asking of you so you can decide this is good fit and if you should even apply for.

Let’s get started. This is a real ad and church names. etc. have been left out.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Family Life Coordinator (this means you’re about to do a lot of work and not just youth pastoring) 

JOB SUMMARY

The Family Life Coordinator is a qualified professional teambuilder who contributes to the mission of the Church both by active service and by personal example. The Coordinator interacts with parish and diocesan staff, and the People of God – especially youth and their families – to promote authentic religious values and authentic Church teachings.

Note: Churches put fancy talk in their job descriptions. Besides, what is a Qualified Professional? Do you need a certificate?

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

The Coordinator serves in promoting family life in the parish, principally through running a Middle School and High School youth program, interacting with wider parish membership, being present at parish events, and managing the parish social media and membership communications. The Coordinator will accomplish the following responsibilities:

Note: I made this statement bold because managing social media is a full job in itself. Trust me ( blog, podcast, youtube, etc.) I smell over worked and underpaid immediately. So far, they have said the want  a qualified professional teambuilder and a social media director (2 jobs, paid for one I would negotiate high pay from the get go)

1. Develops successful Middle School and High School youth programs, including a team of volunteers, that meet once a week (except for vacation periods) during the school year and include occasional special activities/initiatives.

Note: make them define, in writing, what they think a successful MS and HS programs look like. You are cheating yourself if you don’t have a clear goal.

2. Facilitates the recruitment and training of volunteers for the youth programs.

Note: What is the median age of the church, is there enough viable people to recruit, is there an established council, or are you on your own?

3. Leads a delegation of youth/families/individuals to the annual March for Life in Washington, DC.
4. Manages the parish web site, Facebook page, Twitter/Instagram accounts, and makes recommendations on effective social media usage to the Pastor.
5. Evaluates and further develops means of regular communication and outreach with parishioners: SMS/text, email, parish app, bulletin, etc.

Note: Once agin. Job #3 Manage a website.  Not listed in qualifications.

6. Assists with the layout and production of the weekly parish bulletin.

Note: No, just no. This is job #4

7. Assists with planning and scheduling family-oriented activities at certain intervals throughout each year, such as parish dances and the Fall Festival.
8. Works with existing and recruits new volunteers to carry out the aforementioned family-oriented events/activities.
9. Under the direction of the Pastor, collaborates with other staff, especially the Parish Secretary and Director of Religious Education (DRE), to promote the family life of the parish and carry out the initiatives related to that.
10. Keeps statistics and metrics so that the effectiveness of our activities/initiatives can be measured on an occasional (at least annual) basis.

Note: First thing I’ve read that I like. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth measuring.

11. Attends periodic staff meetings (usually monthly).
12. Works with the DRE to run background checks on and ensure Youth Protection certification for all volunteers.

Note: Another thing I like. A church that does not do background checks is asking for trouble. In fact, you should not work at a church that does not do this at some level.

13. Assist the  Secretary occasionally with phone/receptionist responsibilities for brief periods.

Note: Job number #5!!! Stop reading and move on. They cannot afford you at this point.

14. Collaborates with the Wedding Coordinator on the usage of the Cathedral Life Center.

Note: Job #6 Wedding Coordinator. Say no to the dress.

15. Collaborates with other parish activities and initiatives on the common promotion of family life in the parish.
16. Assist with occasional “all hands on deck”-type parish events, under the direction of the Pastor.

Note: All hands on deck? I don’t have any hands left.

SUPERVISION

SUPERVISED BY: The Pastor/Rector
SUPERVISES: Team Volunteers
LEADS/GUIDES: Team Volunteers

Note:  A) I supervise volunteers they do not supervise me. B) We are peers and mutually accountable for God’s work.

JOB SPECIFICATIONS

EDUCATION:

  • Required: Bachelor of Arts or equivalent, as well as prior experience with youth programs and demonstrated competence and prudence with social media. 

Note: The forgot the degree in Social Media, Wedding Coordinating, and All Hands On Deck-ology.

  • Desired: Demonstrated success in a similar position held previously.

LICENSES, CERTIFICATION AND/OR REGISTRATIONS: N/A
EQUIPMENT/TOOLS/WORK AIDS: Computer skills, copying machine, and knowledge of other office equipment

Note: Double Nope! Ok, you should know how to push the copy button.

SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS: Must be:
1. Knowledgeable in the field of pastoral service and family life.
2. Personable, flexible, understanding of others, and a good listener.
3. Relates well to youth, who seek sincerity and authenticity.
4. Able to assess the family needs of the Parish and plan to meet the needs.
5. Proficient in both written and spoken communication.
6. Proficient in the major social media platforms and perceptive in their effective use.
7. A challenger.
8. Self-motivated.
9. Creative, without imposing personal opinions on people.
10. Organized and able to multi-task through wise prioritization and scheduling.

Note: Number 9 is pure garbage. If you’re a creative who cannot push your ideas forward, why are they paying you? This may have been placed in here due to a former pushy employee. That’s how rules get made.

PERSONAL TRAITS QUALITIES & APTITUDES: Friendly, willing to work with others and have the capacity to delegate tasks. Open to the ideas of others. Willing to work for the greater good of the Parish, the Diocese, and the Universal Church. Willing to use personal gifts for the good of the whole. Able to win the respect and loyalty of co-workers. Able to relate to youth in a prudent manner and encourage them in their practice of the faith and spiritual/human growth.

  • Must be a practicing Catholic and have a clear sense of Catholic identity
  • Be able to work in a team context
  • Possess clear evidence of integrity and the highest standards of ethical conduct
  • Demonstrate an ability to motivate and win the respect and loyalty of staff and accomplish results through others
  • Be literate in social media and follow its development
  • Be sensitive to cultural and racial diversity
  • Be flexible, assertive, persuasive, organized, and highly motivated
  • Demonstrate an ability to accept responsibility for direction, control, and planning of an activity
  • Demonstrate an ability to make generalizations, evaluations, and decision based on sensory or judgmental criteria
  • Demonstrate an ability to perform a variety of duties requiring the changing from one task to another without loss of efficiency or composure
  • Demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively with people of all socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Demonstrate an ability to solve problems in a creative and effective manner
  • Be willing to assess personal strengths and weaknesses and receive and respond to performance reviews and constructive criticism

Note: This person does not exist, so it cannot be you.

Verdict: They want you to work 6 jobs and pay you for one. This job is an F. Do          not apply.

If you are looking at Youth Pastor job ads, send it over to me and I’ll be happy give you my opinion.

If you would like practice applying for a job, I offer mock interviews HERE

You Don’t Need New Lipstick, You Need A New “Pig”

Have you heard the saying, “You can put lipstick on a pigs snout, but it’s still a pig?” This phrase is in reference to dressing up an ugly situation hoping you can disguise it, hiding all it’s flaws. Let’s be honest, when it comes to some youth ministries, sometimes there just isn’t enough lipstick.

Our youth ministries can get ugly sometimes . We try to dress it up for our parents, our pastors, the board, etc. There’s nothing wrong with an “ugly” youth ministry. Our youth ministries, like our students, like us, are becoming beautiful over time and through various cycles.

What I suggest is, not try to cover up the “ugly” with lipstick of excuses, pretending it isn’t ugly, in this moment.

Here are some of the lipsticks we’re tempted to put on our pig.

The Lipstick of Busyness

To add another metaphor, adding more activities to your calendar is like adding more deodorant when you haven’s showered in a few days, you still stink. More activities only masks the problem, hoping that no one will notice that the youth ministry is not making disciples, not making progress, and not growing.

Eventually, your youth ministry will slow down, and then it will hit you, “what was all that busyness for?” and your still stuck with a youth ministry going nowhere.

The Lipstick of Comparison

When we start saying things like, “Well, at least …” we’ve started lowering the bar.

Well, at least no one is pregnant.

Well, at least we’re not lot like….

Well, at least kids are coming

Is this bad? Not necessarily. Phrases like this are a coping mechanism when things are not going according to plan. We should always find the positive in our “pig”. We should always look for the small increments of growth and change in our students and celebrate it.

The problem is, if we’re using the phrase too often, it becomes a justification for not trying something different or for not giving more effort to change the things we can change to move our students deeper or further in their faith. It also becomes an excuse for not improving ourselves. The latter is something we have complete control over it. Let’s stop lowering our expectations of God, ourselves and our students and reach for higher goals.

The Lipstick of Numbers

More must mean we’re ok, right? No. Churches with bigger youth ministries just have bigger pigs to decorate. The big numbers can get in the way of a fair evaluation (if any) and slows our need to make changes.

Big numbers can mask flaws in our discipleship strategy. Big crowds are great but the youth ministry as a whole can be unhealthy.

Don’t let big numbers lull you into a false sense of security. Big numbers are not the end game, helping students become more like Jesus is.

The Lipstick of Happy

Everyone’s happy, that’s good, right? Sure it is, but is happiness a good indicator? But how did everyone get that way? Appeasement? Fulfillment?

I always want my students to be happy. I pray for their well being, but from a ministry context, my call is to put them in positions that will make them grow into who God is making them to be, this, sometimes, makes them unhappy.

This kind of unhappy is ok because it’s revealing something about their life and showing them they have room to grow.

We all have a pig, or some shade of pig. If we stay at a church long enough or stay in youth ministry long enough we’ll start to hear the “oinking”.  Once that happens, we have a choice, dress up the pig with excuses and wallow in the mud with it or do what is necessary to turn things around.

Our youth ministries will always have a little ‘pig” in them because youth ministry, leadership, teenagers and life can get ugly, but we should always love our pig and do our best to care for it.

If I can help your youth ministry be better pig, click here to book me to speak, consult or give a workshop.

Remember, pigs can still do amazing things!!

Youth Ministry Round Up #7

 

Quotes

 

Articles

Justin Bieber Led Worship at a Coachella Event

A Free, Just-As-Good, Alternative To Photoshop?

What To Do When Everything Is Changing (Good for businesses, good for youth ministries)

Podcast

Great insight about being a surviving artist (KJ-52)

Losing Students Without Losing Yourself (Click here for the show notes)

Video

Is your youth group dying from low expectation? Brian breaks down on why the cost of faith should be high.

Great YG Countdown rom Delmar Peet

Real Doctor Reacts To The Good Doctor (TV Show) This would make a good parody video of a “Real” Christian Watching A “Fake” Christian and commentating.

Six Simple Truths of Communication Every Pastor Should Follow

 

Youth Ministry in Motion Podcast Episode 68

Show Notes

I was listening to one of my favorite new podcasts, Everything Happens with Kate Bowler (Teacher at Duke Divinity School)  with one of my favorite actors, Alan Alda (M.A.S.H, Same Time Next Year, and The Four Seasons).

Alan is on the show to discuss the training he does with doctors on how to improve their communication skills with patients. Often doctors offer bad news in harsh ways. They lack empathy and can be very cold in their approach to what should be an intimate and caring moment between two human beings.

I see this kind of practice as no different as when youth workers, pastors, bosses, etc. are talking with, well, anyone. Us youth workers, especially when we’re younger, can be so impetuous and full of spunk (also read as: CRAP) that we think we know everything and are better speakers than listeners.

Think of all the times a pastor has to communicate where it matters how they communicate

  • when someone comes in for counseling for addiction
  • when someone receives bad news at the doctors
  • when there’s a sensitive meeting about church members
  • dealing with death and dying

Whether we’re “experts” because we have a degree or because we’ve simply been doing pastoral work a long time, we should always evaluate our communication skills. We, like doctors, have to deliver bad news,

You can ‘t go on the trip because…

You have to step down because…

We have to have a talk about…

Your soul is in trouble….

Not even three minutes into the podcast, Alan Alda offers a simple recipe for good communication based on the acting skill called improve. These are massive lessons all ministers in all positions, should learn when communicating with their the congregation, students, their spouses and pretty much everyone else.

The Essence of improve

focus on the other person

Listen intently, make eye contact, watch their body language.

the other person come first

Wait for cues or permission to interject, don’t interrupt. Our opinion may be different, but it’s not more important than the other persons opinion.

make your partner look good

How can I speak to empower the other person? How can avoid tearing anyone down and still making my point. Don’t degrade the other person to make ourselves look good.

become partners in communication

Approach every conversation as a partnership. You are both trying to achieve something, work together to help each other share what is really important to them

don’t deny your partner

Let them have their say. Let the other person “beat around the bush” a little until they are comfortable getting to the point. Don’t deny the other person your empathy and care no matter how difficult the subject.

You don’t have a target of communication, you have a partner in communication.

We do not speak at people, we speak with people. People are not targets for our information, they are partners in developing a conversation around what both of us want to talk about.

Scripture exhorts us to,

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4;6

Conversation – words, speech, divine utterances (aren’t they all?)

Full of grace – disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share (listen more talk less, less judgement more empathy)

Seasoned with salt – God preserving and seasoning a believer as they grow (Seek each others growth, and to preserve one another dignity)

Take a moment and ask yourself,

How much of my last conversation was filled with grace and seasoned with salt?

Was the person I was talking with a “target” of my information or. a partner in our communication?

We can, and should, always improve in our communication with others, especially to those whom we are making life long followers of Jesus.

 

You might also be interested in my take on Improvisational Youth Ministry 

You can also watch the podcast as I share live on the Youth Ministry in Motion Facebook Page, come join us.

 

Youth Ministry Round Up #5

 

I just like this photo: So many lessons.

Articles

More People Likely To Divorce After Watching Porn, Study Says

How I Plan Curriculum – Heather Lea Campbell

How I Write A Sermon Series 

Mother Allegedly Uses Tazer To Wake Up Son For Church

Podcasts

This Week In Youth Ministry Podcast 

Videos

I check out my friend Boo’s Youth Room. Your not gonna believe what he has.

Work hard and you’ll get your shot – The Emergency Goalie

How Often Should Your Church Be Posting on Social Media?

Relentlessly Poking The Revival Fire

This is my ninth, and final, post in my series 9 WaysTo Dynamically Revive Your Youth Ministry. You can click here to start at the beginning.

When I give you ideas and tactics for reviving your youth ministry, I make some assumptions.

I assume you are praying. I assume you are taking care of your own soul, I assume you are passionate about what you do. I don’t think these are careless assumptions. These are, or should be, core beliefs for someone in our position.

If all the above is happening (not perfectly all them) and heading in the right direction, then our role is to poke the fires.

This is also called stoking the fire. By definition, stoking the fire means to poke a fire and fuel it so that it burns higher. In the case of a camp fire we move the wood around so that oxygen and can get in and we add wood when the fire gets low.

These are all tangible effort. If we are praying then God is listening. What Neds to be done is the work. Look at Elijah,

Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he made a trench around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed. Then he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood.        I Kings 18: 31-33

Like Eliajah, we have to build the altar, lay the stones, get the wood, cut up the sacrifice. If Elijah does not of this, God does not answer by fire. This is not about working harder, longer hours; this about making preparations for God to answer our call.

Elijah dug trenches because he was one upping the prophets of Baal. Their God did not answer at all. Elijah essentially said, “Hold my beer”. He embarrassed the prophets of Baal by adding water to the sacrifice. Not only would God anger by fire, but he can even set a wet sacrifice aflame.

I don’t think we should be so brazen as to our water over our sacrifice. The wood in many youth groups are already wet making it hard to start a fire at all. Our kids are soaked with the world and water logged with cares and worries.

So, how do we poke the fires?

First, watch for the flicker.

It’s hard, sometimes, to get youth genuinely excited about the things of God, but I always watch for the flicker. I feel like I am trying to start a fire in a hurricane and my match keeps going out. I have to remind myself, It’s God’s job to answer by fire, not me. I watch for the spark and the flicker.

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. I Corinthians 3:7

We build, we prepare, God brings the fire.

Next, add a log to the fire 

When I do see the flicker, I hurry and grab some kindling, not a big log. I don’t throw a ton of responsibility on a kid the minute they sense the Holy Spirit working in them. I take small steps, twig by twig I feed the flame.

I find out what they are good at and then try to match it with something in our youth ministry. If I cannot find a place for them to serve I create a place for them to serve no matter what they can do. The flame builds a little hire.

Finally, poke it here and there

I watch there fire closely. I watch for the winds of doubt and the flood discouragement that may try to extinguish the flame of faith. I poke the fire with relationship, with encouragement, with affirmation, and with motivation.

If there is more than one flicker I band those logs together so they feed off one another. I poke the fire even more making sure there is room to breath and experience God. Then, I work and I wait to see what happens next.

Like fire building, reviving a youth ministry is a slow process. The fire may never get as hot or as high as we like it, but we should always be grateful their is a fire at all.

I hope you enjoyed the series, and if you did, leave a comment. Be sure to sign up for the Fresh Impact Newsletter to receive more ideas, resources, and strategies.