Last week school let out for the summer and I added another year of ministry to my belt. Time truly does fly by in youth ministry and it’s always been interesting for me to reflect on how I’ve grown over the years. What started with hanging out with teenagers has grown into mobilizing volunteers, managing programs and creating opportunities to serve this next generation.

If you stay in youth ministry long enough you’ll find your responsibilities change. Even if your church stays small, the level of leadership will increase because you’ll earn trust. When trust is earned people will feel like giving you more responsibility. Bottom line, your role as a youth minister will change over time. To move keep moving forward make sure you:

STEPS 1: Listen and Observe – Whether you are starting out or in the midst of a huge transition, it’s important for you to pause. Sometimes the temptation is to just dive in and create change. If you force a project or a program too quickly you will get push back. Any time something is new slow yourself down and take in the atmosphere around you. When you’ve gathered enough data, create a plan to move forward.

STEPS 2: Revisit the Vision – Your vision should never change; however, how you reach that vision will. Cultures, communities and individuals will grow, and change constantly. This will at times force you to alter the way you’ve done ministry. Revisit the vision to make sure you are still on track. Evaluate what needs to go, what needs to evolve and what should change.

STEPS 3: Replace Yourself – To keep moving forward you need to be able to delegate responsibility. Even if you work in a small church the weight of your responsibilities will grow overtime. The more you can delegate the more capacity you create for yourself. Replacing yourself doesn’t mean you’ll leave in a year or two; however, it will prepare your church and ministry to succeed when you do.

Youth ministry is a movement that needs to move forward efficiently. That means being prepared for the growth, handling the changes and knowing what’s happening around you. Develop a plan, bring your team a long and watch your ministry move.

Would you add any steps? Do you disagree with any?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)