Balancing office administration with building relationships

Administration and relationships

Even though I haven’t been in my new youth ministry position for even three months yet, this time of year is when my church does their annual reviews for each employee, so I was included in the process anyway. I did my review with our Sr. Pastor last week and then sent this email to my adult volunteer team a day or two later.

On Monday I had my job assessment review with [our Sr. Pastor] and we determined that I’m not spending nearly enough time hanging out with students. Actually, I’m not spending any time at all. I briefly mentioned this at the [adult volunteer] retreat and said that I spend all my time doing administrative stuff because there’s a lot of up-front foundational work that needs to be done [in my new position]. Although this is true, it’s not really a valid excuse for ignoring time with students outside of church. I prepare and teach up to 4 Bible lessons every week, work with [other youth pastors in the area], balance expenses, coordinate communication between everyone, plan multiple youth meetings, continue my education on youth work, Belize missions trip, Student Leadership Team, etc. These are all things that only I can do and I’m glad to do them, but there are also many administrative items that could be done by almost anyone. I know we’d all agree that no student cares how much work I do in the office. Office work, although necessary, isn’t what changes lives. I was hired partly because of my relational heart for students since that’s what the church (you guys included) said it needed. So here I am in the office instead.

Hanging out at the schools, athletic fields, band concerts, and cafeteria is where I can make the greatest long-term impact. I would also love to do more lunch meetings with students, informal hang-outs at my house and maybe even help coach the wrestling team later this fall, but in order for this to happen, I need your help in a couple ways:

1. If you know of something that needs to be done that doesn’t HAVE to be done by me, consider taking a lead roll on seeing it accomplished and just let me know about it.

2. Be willing to let some things slide. I’m going to be more intentional about leaving the office to hang out with kids, which means that a lot more things will be left undone (right now I usually don’t even take a break to eat lunch). From an eternal perspective, I believe this is the best use of my time. Five years from now will it really matter if there’s a youth bulletin insert and a PowerPoint announcement slide every Sunday?

3. If you have extra time you’d like to donate once in a while, let me know and I’ll be happy to delegate things your way. I want to respect your time as volunteers and make sure that the time you give is spent serving in a capacity that utilizes your gifts and passions. However, if you have some time above and beyond this, I can totally use you.

I’m going to start asking myself two evaluation questions:
1. Is this something that could be done just as easily by anyone else?
2. What’s the worst thing that could happen if this isn’t done?

If it’s something someone else can do just as well as I can, then I’ll let someone else do it. If there’s no one to do it and the cost of not addressing it is less significant than taking time away from personally investing into a student, then I’ll probably let it slide. I can’t do everything, lines need to be drawn somewhere and priorities need to be set. Hopefully these two questions will help guide those priority decisions.

If you have any questions or concerns, please come to me directly. Thanks, guys!

I appreciate your help and your support as we reach these teenagers together! You guys are already doing so much. Each one of you is leaving fingerprints on lives that will be forever different because of your heart and dedication to teenagers. Together I know we can change the future one student at a time. God bless you all!

Since sending this email with the Sr. Pastor’s approval, one volunteer came in to the office to balance the youth group checkbook for me. Others have stepped up to take lead rolls on various upcoming events. I also learned that one of our church’s secretaries will be doubling her office hours in two months, partly to help alleviate a lot of my office administration. Woo hoo! Thanks, church!

Posted on May 9, 2007

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