Youth ministries rarely collapse because of anything drastic. Yes, an event can occur that can shake the foundation; however, if a youth ministry is truly healthy it can survive almost any trial.
The main reason a youth ministry falls apart is because of subtle actions, attitudes and behaviors that slowly take over. To avoid these pitfalls you need to identify them. 5 pitfalls that will attack any ministry are:
You need to be able to analyze and critique your ministry but it should be done in a constructive way. Beware of negative people who constantly:
- Criticize without offering a solution.
- Talk about others when they aren’t around.
- Shutdown ideas before they fully develop.
When negativity leaks into your ministry teens will not want to come back. No one likes to be around people who complain because it’s draining. Get rid of the negativity by:
- Encouraging others to reach their potential.
- Confront it immediately.
- Creating a culture where gratitude is championed.
Being positive isn’t being naive it’s sharing love. A ministry filled with love is one that will grow.
When you aren’t on the same page it’s hard to get anything done. People will get involved in your ministry for different reasons. There will be men and women who have different ideas and gifts. Your job as the youth pastor is to make sure they work toward a common vision.
Never grow tired of explaining why you do what you do. Help your team embrace the purpose behind the ministry. If someone isn’t on board, love them and help them find a different place where they can serve.
BUSYNESS IS BOSS
The pressure to do more can inspire you, but it can also burn you out. Being busy doesn’t equate success. As the leader of your ministry, you need to make sure you:
- Only do what you have the capacity to do.
- Are taking breaks and seasons of rest.
- Surrounding yourself with people who can give you margin.
The more you combat busyness the more you can increase your endurance. A youth minister who sticks around for the long haul is the one who will have the greatest impact.
LONE RANGER MENTALITY
Youth ministry is a shared experience. It’s an opportunity for the entire church to invest in the next generation. Not every teen is going to connect with you, but they could connect with another adult in your ministry. You might have incredible ideas, but not all of them will work at solving the problems your ministry face.
When a leader tries to do it on his or her own it limits growth. When growth is limited the ministry will not only plateau but eventually deteriorate. Stop trying to do everything on your own and you’ll create a healthier and stronger ministry.
SELF SERVING LEADERSHIP
There is a lot of attention that comes with being the youth minister. But, if a leader isn’t careful that attention can turn into pride and that pride can tear the ministry apart.
Combat self-serving leadership by surrounding yourself with men and women who will call you out on prideful behavior. Keep your relationship with Christ at the forefront and embrace humility in every possible way.
Your ministry will go through periods where it feels attacked. Don’t believe you are above it, instead keep your attention on building a healthy foundation.
What other pitfalls make their way into ministry and how do you combat them?