Dale Note: Over the last 35 years I’ve worked with 3 full time youth ministers and several (about 20 interns and part time YM’s) - I would add -not always well. It is not essential that we crave time together or have the same common interests BUT we must love each other and the church for the sake of that Kingdom! I asked The Jerry Elder, prince of YM’s and one of the best in the field to make a few notes about what the two can do to work well together. His thoughts, as anticipated are without prejudice and very helpful. Thanks Jerry.
“What Pulpit Ministers can do to help Youth Ministry/Ministers”
With the average Youth Minister remaining in youth ministry for only 18 months before a change of ministry or getting out of the ministry, I ask myself the question, “What can be done to help the Youth Minister and his situation”?
I have been blessed to be in youth ministry for well over 30 years and I have seen the “Ups and Downs”. The question was proposed to me, “What can pulpit ministers do to help Youth Ministers and youth ministry”?
Let me give a few ideas on how to help.
I know the role of a Pulpit Minister is hard and difficult at times.
Be there to support the work that the Youth Minister plans. You may not like retreats and lock-ins, but it would be nice to “make an appearance” even for just a few minutes to show the group you care about them AND about the youth minister.
Promote the activities they are involved in from the pulpit OR your bulletin!
Be there for his family, minister to them. They also need a Minister.
Be there when he fails, to encourage and not discourage.
2. Be Honest (Open)
Sounds easy right? Well I have spoken to many, that have said that the Pulpit Minister kept things from them that if they had known, they could have made the correction before a fall.
Youth Ministers, don’t wear your feelings on your shoulders! Don’t keep things from each other. It does more damage for the kingdom than good.
3. Be an Ally, not an Enemy
Need I really explain this? Pulpit ministers, it’s going to be extremely rare that the Youth Ministers wants your jobs! And Youth Ministers, Pulpit Ministers don’t want your’s either! So who are you working for? What’s your purpose? Let the Preacher, preach. Let the Youth Minister, minister to the young. BUT, WORK TOGETHER for the cause!
4. Be a Listening Ear
Just like you need someone to listen to you, be there to listen to the Youth Minister. Listen to their joys and sorrows. Listen to their ideas for the church. Some will be great! Some, well, reference number two again. Spend time together, a lot of time.
5. Be Loving in All Things
There will be highs and lows in ministry. The Youth Minister will want to leave the work for many different reasons (frustrations, finances, feelings). Encourage them to stay the course, to stay with you. Don’t kick them when they are down (Even if they deserve it). They are human, they have feelings and everything good and bad should be approached in love. Love them even more when the good happens (and a lot of good will happen if you work together). As the old phrase goes “Live, Laugh and Love”!
Truth of the matter is, Pulpit Ministers and Youth Ministers need to remember the reason we do what we do. It’s not about US! It’s about HIM! Make disciples, convert the lost to Jesus, bring a lost soul home to God! Do it TOGETHER!