9 People Every Youth Worker Should Know
By Chris Maxwell
You hurry to finish planning. You rush to another meeting. You strive to have more time with family. You love encounters with individual teens and you enjoy the large youth events and you work to budget time in order to use time more wisely—but all those things take time.
Adding more people and events to your schedule doesn’t seem possible. But as I look back to my years of youth ministry and decades of pastoring, and as I now work with young leaders just beginning their youth ministries, I firmly believe this: we need to prioritize our own growth and development. That means inviting certain people into your life and forming edifying relationships.
Who should you invite to the table of your own spiritual development? This question should be a priority—for your life, for your ministry, and for your future.
Here are some people we all need. Time and conversations with them can guide us, challenge us, mentor us, protect us, and hold us accountable. Most of these people won’t just appear in your life; you’ll have to seek them out intentionally. Pursue people who can function in these roles in your life and ministry.
An experienced pastor: Don’t pursue only teachers who do things the way you do them. Let a leader from another life-stage and culture challenge you, warn you, lead you. Ask about the mistakes they made so you can avoid the same pitfalls.
A biblical scholar: No matter how experienced or knowledgeable you are, seek out others who can teach you deep biblical truth. Base your life and ministry on solid foundations rather than shallow mud. Don’t try to impress students with your knowledge. Know what you believe, why you believe it, and what those who disagree with you believe. Defend doctrine without being defensive. Obtain deep wisdom and lead humbly. No, you don’t need to know a biblical scholar personally, but unless you’re reading or listening to people with greater Bible knowledge than you, your students will miss out on the growth you could be experiencing.
A doctor: Make your physical health a priority. Don’t jump into the newest diet or exercise without first seeing a doctor. Set an example for your students. Show them the benefits of diet and exercise by example rather than lectures.
“Don’t try to impress students with your knowledge. Obtain deep wisdom and lead humbly.”
A professional counselor: Seek help early from someone who is trained to listen well. We all need an objective ear and voice in our lives.
A Paul: Receive guidance from a true, sincere, wise mentor to coach you and pastor you.
A Barnabas: Seek a relationship with someone in a similar role spiritually and vocationally. Get together with them often. This person could be an accountability partner, but also a kindred spirit who knows what you’re going through.
A Timothy: Invest time in a few Timothys. They’re different from the students in your ministry. Find up-and-coming leaders who could benefit from your experience and knowledge. Mentor them. Train them. Teach them through your lifestyle. Read books with them. Discuss the joys and difficulties of ministry with them.
A business leader: Learn from someone with business experience. They will ask you questions others will not.
A financial consultant: Get someone to help you manage your money early. Money can cause so much stress in your life and relationships, but it doesn’t have to. Find someone who can help keep financial anxieties from affecting your student ministry.
Welcome each of these players to your team. Invite them into your life. A little time with each person can help protect you and direct you. Their words can encourage you and help you process why you do what you do. Making time to meet with them will help you use time wisely.
About the Author
The LeaderTreks Blog is proud to share the hard-earned wisdom of student ministry leaders from many different backgrounds and professions. From time to time, we will feature guest blog posts from writers other than our regular contributors. We include these posts to provide additional perspectives and insight that we’re sure will help develop you and your ministry… Read More