(Over the next few months, maybe longer, I will be writing weekly posts on my journey of starting a new youth ministry position. The focus will be on general tips and suggestions for any youth minister starting a new position, but I will add-in moments specific to my situation. My goal is to offer advice to help other youth ministers and not write an online journal of my own personal experiences. In order to make this series of articles as beneficial as I can, I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts. And remember as you read about my journey in a new youth ministry that every situation is different; therefore, these ideas are just ideas and suggestions. You need to know your church culture and adjust your week-by-week to fit those needs.)
I’m not exactly sure how long it takes to get settled into a new ministry, but I don’t think it’s two weeks. While I believe you get used to each part of the ministry on different levels and at different speeds, I wish it all came faster. Over the past week, I have had at least a dozen people ask me, “So, you getting settled in yet?” I know this is simply part of the normal process of moving and starting a new job (and I bet the questions will stop within a week or two) but I am left to wonder what specifically they mean by their question. Do they want to know if I’m getting settled into my office or into the overall culture of the congregation?
This week my goal has been to finish getting settled into the office. I believe this is an important step early in your ministry for a couple reasons. 1) It is easier to work in an organized and clean office. (Hopefully, you will keep it that way, too) 2) When people stop by to talk, they will see a clean office. And seeing a clean youth minister’s office helps people understand that you, the youth minister, take your job seriously. 3) Once you really get into the rhythm of ministry, you will not regularly take the time to clean your office – you’ll be too busy doing what you love to do. 4) There are people who will be more willing to support you and your ministry when your office does not look like a junior high locker room.
This does not mean that you lock yourself in your office and refuse to come out. There are still people to see and probably meetings to attend. And depending on how busy your office is, or how long you’ve been in ministry, it might take you a few weeks to get settled in. Most of my second week in the office was quiet, since the sr. minister is on the mission trip, so I have been able to get most of the boxes unpacked and put away. One of the last things I have yet to do is put up all of my “memories” – the trinkets and knick-knacks I’ve collected over the years and display proudly around the office.
For my second Sunday, I was able to spend more time meeting and talking with people. I did not teach, so I was able to sit in a few more classes. I stayed in the high school room for Sunday School (my goal is to spend a month in each Sunday School class before I move to another one). Seeing that I oversee all ages from 2 years old to high school, I sat in on the 2’s and 3’s class during Jr. Church. During the first few months, I really want to get a better sense of what the classes are like and how each teacher is different from the others. I know this is something that will take much longer to fully grasp, but it is important to get a good understanding early in ministry.
This week, I was able to get involved “up front” a little bit. A group of students and adults left on Sunday to go on a mission trip, so during the the beginning of our Sunday School we took time to pray for them as a congregation. I was asked to be one of the prayers. I was honored they asked me and more than happy to participate.
I wanted to start meeting with people this week. I was able to meet with two local ministers (a sr. minister and a youth minister) over lunch. I am looking forward to being able to work together and minister alongside each other over the years. I was hoping to meet with one of the youth coaches this week, but it didn’t happen. I’ll try again next week – there are plenty of people to meet with.
Week 2 Bulletpoints:
– finish unpacking office
– look over upcoming calendar of events
– start talking with students & parents
– learn more about the youth coaches
Goals of the near future:
– one “big” event for each age group planned
– meet with others in charge
– spend more time with students (outside of Sunday events)
Previous weekly perspectives: week 1