Group Building: No Solo Flights
Ministry is, by its very nature, a team effort. Don't try to do it alone.
In almost every question we get concerning strengthening a youth ministry, one fact seems to lie just beneath the surface: too many youth workers are trying to do this alone. There is no way you can sustain a successful class, small group, or student ministry if you are attempting to prop the whole thing up by yourself.
Ministry is, by its very nature, a team effort. No matter how small your church may be, how isolated you may seem from anyone else who knows what you are going through, remaining in solitude will only promote stagnation, frustration, and the certain decline of your effectiveness.
Here are a few tips to keep you encouraged:
• Find Help in Your Church
By that I mean find kindred spirits—people who believe the same way you do about ministering to students. This could be church leadership (a pastor or other church leader), or among the laity. Parents are one group that often go untapped for support. Invite people to join you for prayer, brainstorming, or even to volunteer. And don’t be surprised if these people emerge from the unlikeliest of places—like senior citizens!
• Find Help in Your Community
Chances are you are not the only church in your town. Put denominational differences aside and realize that you can learn from other traditions, and they can learn from you! Organize a breakfast or a more casual get-together. Try to get all the youth workers, paid or not, in the same room. Start small, maybe you and one other person, and commit to bringing a friend the second time. Chances are they feel just like you feel sometimes and could use the encouragement just as much as you could.
• Find Help Outside Your Community
There are tons of resources available to those that work with teens. In our technological age, support is no farther than a mouse click away. There are a ton of organizations, social networking sites, and non-digital resources out there that are meant just for your edification and support. Check out the links on our site to get you started—they’re all trustworthy groups.
While it doesn’t sound hard, sometimes taking that first step is tough. You don’t want to admit you need help, you are by your very nature a shy person, or you just aren’t sure what it is you’re looking for.
I beg you to make that first call, send that first e-mail, or attend that first community-wide event. While the first step can be hard, it makes every other step on your journey a whole lot easier!