There are definitely, not entirely unfounded, perceptions of those who work with youth. Some of these perceptions are cultural such as,
Youth Pastor’s dress too much like students (skinny jeans anyone?)
Youth Pastor’s listen to weird music and often at volumes that the midweek senior bible study can hear upstairs.
There are also stereotypes, also not unfounded, of youth pastors such as The Drill Sergeant Youth Pastor, The I Always Have To Be Funny Youth Pastor, The Super Competitive Youth Pastor and The I’m Too Spiritually Deep For Games Youth Pastor (AKA Let’s Get Deep With God Youth Pastor) .
But, there are perceptions of youth workers can be changed, it just takes a little work. Some of these perceptions are
They don’t manage time well
This was not a perception of me, it was true of me. I did not manage my time well in the early years. Everything was last minute and I was late to meetings a lot.
Being late to meetings says, “I had something better to do than be here” which may or my to be true, but being late, all the time, is a selfish move that only hurts your credibility.
It would do you go to adopt this quote by Shakespeare,
Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late.
They always seem unprepared
Sloppy would be a good word to describe what I’ve heard others say about how youth pastors do their job. It’s almost like youth workers made this quote their motto,
“Be unprepared, that’s my motto. Be unprepared, and let life overwhelm you.” ― Marty Rubin
I get it, youth ministry is chaotic, but a youth pastor cannot afford to cave to the chaos, they have to adapt to it.
The don’t seem to have a coherent plan
The calendar is loaded with activities, but they don’t make any sense. Lots of events and activities do not make for a successful youth ministry. Schools have lots of activities, YMCA have a lot of activities, but neither of these organizations are called to make disciples the way a youth ministry is called to do.
“All successful people men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.”
― Brian Tracy, Personal Success
Youth Pastors should dream big because the mission is big. Youth Pastors should be dreaming, not of large youth ministries, but large impact. Don’t dream about adding hundreds of students to your youth ministry, dream about adding the last five students who visited your youth ministry.
If you resonate with any of these perceptions, real or not, don’t worry, I can help you. Now, I can’t help you with dressing like students or the music you listen to, you do you. What I can help you with is dreaming big, staying organized and having a plan.
I have create the My Youth Ministry Playbook to help you do all three of these things. The Playbook is filled with
Calendars, but not ordinary planner calendars, but calendars that ask you questions you should be asking month by month.
Articles written to get your wheels turning about how and why you should plan what you plan.
Worksheets that accompany some of these articles to help you work out the principles I propose.
Forms to do both adult and student leader evaluations.
Brainstorming pages to write down your own ideas.
All of these in one book, along with the pdf so you can make more copies as you need them. You can also buy just the PDF, but how cool would you look carrying a My Youth Ministry Playbook around your church? If you want to get your whole team on board, you can buy a five pack here.
My hope is that you are perceived as you actually are, hard working, organized, on time and prepared. If not, I got your back.