Welcome to Rural Youth Ministry. The boxes are unpacked, the church fellowship (or pitch-in or potluck) is over, now it’s time to get to work. You may be in a new community or part of the country asking yourself “where do I even start?” Here are 5 of the Top 10 people you need to get to know as you get started in rural youth ministry:

10. The Church Treasurer – This person or team can be one of your biggest allies or headaches. You want them as an ally. They sign your paycheck, they write reimbursement checks, and in some cases, can help you navigate the youth budget.

9. A High School/Jr High School Teacher or Coach that does not go to your church – It’s easy to stick with the teachers/coaches that go to your church in building relationships. You are “their” youth worker. Build a working relationship with a teacher/coach that has no vested interest in sugarcoating anything. Their interest is you helping them by being a positive impact in students lives. That is messy kingdom work.

8. Someone who frequents the place where all the old guys go drink coffee – I know. You are doing YOUTH ministry, but hang with me for a minute. These are the guys who seem to know everything that goes on in town, everything that is going to happen, and someone who can find anything you would need. An odd tool? They know a guy. Need something fixed for a reasonable price locally? They know someone for that too…

7. The School Secretary – This person is a wealth of information and a powerful partner in your ministry. They hold the key to a treasure trove of information that will be ever so useful to you. It is pure insanity to even try and schedule a youth event during the school year without help from the school secretary’s calendar.

6. The person who owns the local hardware store – You will want to get to know this person for two reasons: 1) You are in youth ministry…with teenagers… Something is going to break, and you’re going to need to know how to fix it (maybe quickly). and 2) This person has access to all the resources necessary for just about any crazy game or object lesson you could think of.

To be Continued…

Brent Lacy is the Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church, Rockville, Indiana. He is the author of “Rural Youth Ministry: Thrive Where You’re Planted”. He blogs with other Rural Youth Workers at MinistryPlace.net.