After much contemplation, here is my list:
1. Back Your Church Leadership 100%
Many youth pastors have a difficult time “fitting” in at church. Youth pastors have the tendency to be cynical, skeptical, question, and disagree with how church does things. For example… youth pastor have beef with church leadership structure, vision, policies, etc.. I think being a church problem is in the DNA of a good youth pastor. It is easy to listen to other members of the church complain about the same things you complain about. But at the end of the day you as the youth pastor back your church leadership. I don’t care how much you disagree/hate/dislike your church vision/leadership you get their backs. My youth pastor buddy Caleb stated it very well: You may disagree with your church leadership decisions, but always respect their position of authority. However if your church leadership doesn’t back you as the youth pastor, that is different ball game and you may want to leave ASAP.
2. Let your NO be NO.
In the past, I have had a difficult time saying NO to really demanding people. Although I have been saying NO and you need to hold tight–a lot lately. In my personality profile, I am a people pleaser. I like to win over the crowd. In comparison, youth ministry is one big awkward–tough–difficult conversation.
My tendency is to say YES, but the reality is my family and ministry need me to say NO.
By saying NO to everyone’s great idea, you are freed to focus in on what God is calling you to do in and through your youth ministry. If you are too busy implementing everyone’ else ideas, you will lack motivation and your youth ministry will become very misguided. Focusing on less means the youth pastor needs to say NO more.
3. Stick To The Basics
We all know the basics, but we forget a lot. It is funny— we remember what we are suppose to forget, but we forget what we are suppose to remember. So remember this…..
You need a lot of time with Jesus!
Family is everything. If your family life is a mess, and your ministry is thriving you have a deep theological and personal problem.
Ministry. Ministry is ministry. It sucks. It is hard. But someone has to do the job. Remember you are called by God to co-labor with Him at your church. Ministry is the means, not the end.
Pray your butt off. Every day soak in Ephesians 6. There are too many complexities and difficulties to youth ministry, so really the only thing you can do is pray and keep trying things out. MC HAMMER said it best: You have to pray just to make it today.