Monday, June 18, 2012

Fresh Start

Not all good things can last forever.

As a Colts fan (and as this blog was so aptly named prior to my revamping) we learned that back in March, when Peyton Manning choked out those famous last words before walking out of our lives and hearts forever, "I have always enjoyed being your quarterback."

Just scroll to 1:00 in the video and skip Irsay bumbling over his words and go to the heartfelt stuff.

The wise words of my idol on the football field, don't only work in competitive sports, they also work in life, and in youth ministry.  Not everything lasts forever.  God has a plan and purpose for you in your life where you are.

So in youth ministry, my guess, unless you are the rare exception, you will not retire from the same church in which you started with right out of college.  Which poses the question.  What are some good first steps when starting off with a new youth ministry?

I may not be the most experienced at this, but I did do it the wrong way the last time I entered a student ministry setting, and I want to make sure it happens the right way this time.

Here are just a few quick tips to make sure you start out the right way.

  • Get to know the surrounding adults
Yes, your job is with students, but if you don't get to know your peers you will be very lonely.  I think the key is understanding that students are not your best friends.  You have an obligation to them, but when you are hurting, where will you go?  What about your wife?  She will need to build friendships aside from the students you are ministering to as well.  So be intentional about setting up relationships with adults around you.
  • Don't change everything right away
You may already be knowing exactly what it is you want to change up.  But just wait.  Your goal at first is getting your self integrated into the fabric of the church.  If you're hired on a Sunday, and by Wednesday you have changed the name of the student ministry, the times, and the place of the meeting I bet everyone in the church already regrets hiring you.  Enjoy your early time at the church, learning names, meeting people, shaking hands, having conversations because eventually that will all go away.
  • Hang Out
Depending on the time you get hired, just find time to hang out with your new students.  Obviously be smart, don't hang out with a member of the opposite sex alone, but get groups together.  Bring them along when you start to paint the youth room or move couches around.  Go out for ice cream.  Attend the youth ministry events as just a volunteer for a couple of weeks before becoming the authority figure.  Student ministry is relational, and the sooner those relationships get built, the easier your job will be.

These are just a few quick tips that I would have as to how to start and make your mark on a church.  These are things that I would suggest.  Would I do other things? Absolutely!  But I guarantee that these things would help give you a good quick start to your new ministry.

But what about you? What did I miss in this post?  What else could someone do that would make a huge difference?  Leave comments below and lets discuss it!

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