Youth pastors are on the bottom of the church food chain. It seems like everyone else knows how to do youth ministry and is free to share their “thought, opinions, and ideas” with us (the youth pastor).
“The guy on the ground” is a metaphor for the youth pastors who are actually interacting with the youth ministry environment in a church setting.
My point: youth pastors need to really only listen to other youth pastors who are also fighting in the youth ministry trenches with us.
It is so easy to take advice for the senior pastor, academics, authors, theological gurus, former youth pastors, parents, students, elders, deacons, and youth ministry organizational leaders. But who are the people who really know what is up in youth ministry here and now?
It’s the youth pastors who have walked the specific ground, lived the specific lifestyle, and possess a specific psychological social mind-set that other youth pastors need to listen too.
The wisest youth pastors on the ground will always defer to other youth pastors on the ground. I value, honor, and deeply respect tried and tested ideas that work in the real world.
Frankly active youth pastors involved in youth ministry have a special tacit knowledge which makes YPs have a certain eye that determines what works and doesn’t work in 21st century youth ministry. Tacit knowledge is contextualized knowledge of people, places, ideas, and experiences.
“It’s knowledge in practice that’s developed from direct experience and action, and usually is shared only through highly interactive conversations, storytelling, and shared experience.” (Blaber, The Mission, The Men, and ME, p 129)
Ways To Find Guys on the Ground:
01. Join a youth ministry network
The goal is to be around other like minded youth pastors. If your local community doesn’t have a network, start one. Make sure to check out: Ministry Allies
02. Start a blog
I love blogging about youth ministry because it allows me to interact with other youth pastors on the ground. There is nothing better than learning from other youth pastors dealing with the same stuff I am.
03. Visit other youth ministries or their website
See what every other youth ministries in your community are doing. Don’t feel threaten. Observing what other youth pastors are doing is healthy.
04. Go to youth ministry conferences
The best part about youth ministry conferences is not the seminars, speakers, worship band, and skits, but meeting and talking with other youth pastors. There is nothing better than finding another youth pastor friend who understands you and your youth ministry context.