When Does Youth Ministry Get Easier?
Maybe you ask this question after a rough encounter with a parent. Maybe you wonder about this after an evening where nothing went according to plan. It’s a question I’ve heard asked countless amounts of times.
Does youth ministry get easier over time?
It does and it doesn’t. In some areas it should and then in other areas it shouldn’t. The first step to approaching that question is to:
Ask yourself, “Why am I even asking that question?”
If the source of that question is hopelessness or frustration then you need to:
- Seek out friends who will help you process the thoughts.
- Find a veteran in the field that can coach you through the question.
- Offer your feelings up to God through prayer and even a retreat.
No matter why you are asking that question, know that it’s normal. Even after 12 years of ministry I’ve asked that question. Instead of letting it consume your mind, make sure you are:
1. Connected to a Community
Get plugged into at least one community, but if you need a couple that’s okay. Relationships that will pour into you and build you up are important. While national groups are good because they provide:
- Online support
- Resources to develop your leadership
You need to make sure you are connecting locally. A local group will provide real and tangible relationships. Before you commit to one make sure it:
- Meets regularly.
- Spends time to grow relationally.
- Has a good sense of what is going on in your community.
No matter the group, make sure they don’t become a place where slandering coworkers, parents or teens is normal. Connect with ones where you are encouraged and affirmed.
2. Commit to Developing Your Leadership
Leaders are learners and learners are people willing to grow. That doesn’t mean just looking at reading books and growing professionally. Leaders are willing to:
- Learn more about their strengths and weaknesses.
- Go deeper in their faith formation.
- Understand their personality traits.
Leaders want to grow in every aspect possible. For a great series on Leadership Lessons check out the episodes 81-85 of the Rebuilt Podcast HERE.
3. Construct Systems, Not Programs
As you grow so does your ministry. While programs are an important part of what you do make sure that they lead to the vision. That means consistently evaluating them and asking the questions:
- Is this a competing system?
- Does the labor outweigh the fruit?
- Does this program still meet our vision?
One of the reasons ministry remains difficult in areas where it should get easier is because we’ve gotten too comfortable with the status quo. Change is hard, and the way we move through that change is by creating systems.
4. Constantly Remind Yourself, This Is a Journey
An effective ministry doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work and time. It takes prayer and patience. Youth ministry is a grind, but the work you pour into it is worth it.
Just remember that there will be times when asking the question, “Will this get easier?” is totally acceptable. It’s that time when you just need to lean into those that love you and spend time in prayer.
You can do this, God has invited you into this ministry. Trust that He will care for you and give you what you need.