(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.)
The big lesson this week (and thing you need to remember 6 weeks into a new ministry) is to be yourself. Do not try to be another minister. This may sound like an obvious statement. It may be the same thing you have been hearing since you were in youth ministry classes at college. But knowing the statement and applying it to your new ministry are two different things.
In most areas of my new ministry this has not been a problem. I know I am going to connect to students and parents differently than past youth workers. I make sure people know I am different than the other ministers on staff. I have never had the same work hours as other ministers, especially if a minister is a morning person. Honestly, I thought this idea of not trying to be like another minister was something I was pretty good at. But then I was asked to lead prayer during the service.
For some reason when I got up to pray, I started trying to pray like others I had heard in the previous five weeks. I am not sure why I thought/felt I needed to pray “like them,” but I did. And I felt awkward doing it. Plus afterward, I actually had someone tell me I looked nervous during the prayer. As I thought about this, I became more and more convinced that I was nervous. I was nervous because I was trying to be someone I was not. And I had to make sure I acted the part.
As you start to take on more responsibilities during a service or just become more visible to those outside of your ministry area, focus on being yourself. Do not attempt to talk like another minister or act like him, either. Know who you are and be who God made you to be.
Week 6 Bulletpoints:
– be yourself
– objectively evaluate the current ministry
– look for someone outside the congregation you can talk to
– make yourself visible beyond your ministry
Goals of the near future:
– read a book on parenting (then loan it to somebody)
– plan a parenting meeting
– build the youth ministry team connection (team bonding)