Group Building: Don't Do It Alone
Youth Ministry was never meant to be done alone.
We know this because life is not supposed to be done alone. God created man and said, "It's not good for man to be alone," so He made woman. In the Old Testament, He called not a single person but a nation--Israel--to be His chosen people. And in the laws He gave, He mandated that they live in community, treat each other well, and even care for strangers. In the New Testament, the Church becomes the entity that people who have placed their faith in Christ should cling to. The book of Hebrews even warns against not gathering together with others. It seems like this being together thing is a pretty big deal.
Some of us try to build our youth ministries alone even though we do not live any other part of our lives that way. Take it from me--it doesn't work! A lonely youth minister is one who ends up restless, full of doubt, and discouraged.
Sit down with a piece of paper and brainstorm some reasons why it's not good to try to build Youth Ministry alone. Here are a few that jump to mind to get you going:
-- You need to be encouraged by someone
-- You need to share ideas
-- You need to have someone to pray with (Go ahead, what are some other reasons...)
Many youth workers already understand this. But there may be some of you who recognize the need for some help and networking, but aren't quite sure how to get started. Here are some helpful hints:
• Learn the names of other youth workers in town. Start praying for them and their ministries, and that God might form a bond between you and them.
• Jump on Facebook and send some of them a note. Encourage them, invite them to coffee or lunch, or just ask them a question
• Host an area youth ministers' meeting lunch at your church. Send out invitations, make it a big deal, have fun together!
• Find one person who can be a mentor to you. Maybe they aren't even a youth minister in a church but work with kids in some other venue--a school, counseling service, or other non-profit organization
• Have regular appointments with other youth workers for encouragement, idea sharing, etc.
In rare cases, you really are the only youth minister in town. Or maybe you are in a remote part of the world working with a missions organization. Don't be discouraged. There are still all sorts of ways to connect with other youth workers.
• If you are reading this, that means you have the Internet. There are tons of ways to connect with youth workers on various websites (like Facebook) and have meaningful conversations.
• Subscribe to some youth ministry magazines or read blogs that share ideas.
• Right here, on Teen Sunday School Place, there is an "Ask Titus" link. Your question, confusion, or conviction goes straight to a real-life youth minister who would love to connect with you and talk about your ministry. Click it as often as you'd like to enjoy some youth ministry companionship.
No matter where you live, what you do, or how your ministry is going, eventually you'll wish you had someone to talk to. Don't try going through this life alone! Connect with some people who can help you--and subsequently, make your ministry more effective.