student ministry, youth worker, youth ministry

Thoughts After SYMC

By Doug Franklin March 9, 2011

I spent this past weekend with a ton of great youth workers at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. We took some time today in the office to reflect on what we learned. Here is a small sample of our thoughts:

1. Youth workers need community
We witnessed the power of community through connections over and over again. Youth pastors don’t feel connected to their churches or their profession, so gatherings like SYMC feel like being in a spa.

2. Youth workers want to mentor
Over and over again youth workers told me how they would want to mentor students but neither the students nor the youth workers had a ton of time. I believe youth workers see the need for mentoring like never before but don’t know how to make it happen.

3. Youth workers lack professionalism
Some youth workers dress and act like the students they work with. While some of this behavior makes you connect with students, it also hurts the church’s view of youth ministry.

4. Youth workers need training
So many youth workers don’t have any clue what they are doing. Youth ministry doesn’t have a minor leagues and churches don’t seem to help them. Many feel like they are drowning.

5. Youth workers still don’t understand parents
With all the talk about family ministry, many youth workers still don’t get how to put parents first. They don’t understand that parents are the primary faith influencers. They don’t know how to build relationships with them.

6. Youth workers are being hurt by senior pastors
There are lots of hurt feelings between youth workers and senior pastors. I can’t understand how a senior pastor can pray for the ministry of his church and then go mistreat youth workers.

7. Youth workers sacrifice
I heard many powerful stories of sacrifice on the part of youth workers. Stories that will one day be told in Heaven, and after they are told youth workers will be called heroes.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More