The ideal youth ministry starts with the ideal leader

Anyone who’s read me long enough knows that I always push identity over function in ministry. Who you are in ministry should determine what you do in ministry, but unfortunately a lot of us get that backwards. As the task-driven people we are, we look at what youth ministry should do rather than what it should be and therefore we’re always looking for the next best curriculum, the next big event, and next cool game that will hopefully keep kids interested and involved.

If we’re honest, this approach is sometimes tiresome, but then we approach our job as youth workers with the same task-oriented perspective. It’s easy to approach ministry from a “doing” perspective because it creates a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when the to-do list has several items checked off (nevermind the 10 additional tasks we added in the meantime).

What if our youth ministries were known more for what they are rather than what they do? What if every kid in town knew our ministry as, “Yeah, that’s the place where everyone feels loved and accepted,” instead of, “Oh yeah, that’s the church that goes on the ski trip every year, right?” Ski trips are fine and all, but we don’t do ski trips just because that’s what youth group’s do. We go on ski trips because there’s something about us that compels us to do it.

The ideal youth ministry starts with us, the leaders. The ideal youth pastor isn’t the person who can fulfill the longest bullet-point list job description of functions; it’s the person who knows who he/she is in ministry and let’s everything else in ministry flow from that. For this person, everything stems from two things: love and passion.

The ideal youth pastor…

Passionately loves God. They are devoted to studying scripture for themselves, to constant prayer, worship and sharing Him with others.

Passionately loves their family. They place their family before ministry and invest time into them more than anyone or anything else.

Passionately loves students. A gimme, yes, but not to be taken for granted.

Passionately loves free time. They regularly take time off from ministry to relax and re-energize and they don’t feel bad about it!

Passionately leaves a legacy. They know people are watching them and they live the godly example contagiously.

Passionately leads the ministry. They set the tone and vision for the ministry and remember that they’re a leader before they’re a friend.

If you can be that and let ministry flow from it, you’ll do exactly what your ministry needs.

Posted on December 19, 2007

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