Have you ever felt the pressure of being a youth pastor? Every single day, right? As we head into the fall season, there are a lot of pressures that all youth pastors will feel.
Do any of these feel familiar to you?
Everyone who has done youth ministry for two weeks feels the pressure of numbers. It’s as innocent as “How many did you have last week?” to as dire as your job depending on how many students showed up over the last month.
In the fall, the pressure of numbers may either feel really high or really low. If your group really sets off in the fall, then you may be feeling fine! Your group is full and leadership is happy. But if this fall the numbers don’t look as good as “they used to” then you may be feeling the very real pressure of getting students in the door.
While number pressure is very real (and if all of your students stop showing up, it may cause some very real soul searching) you can “get ahead” of the number pressure by learning how to present them.
Instead of comparing promotion Sunday to a three day weekend in February, let your leadership know how THIS Spring’s numbers compare to LAST Spring’s numbers and you’ll have a more researched conversation.
Speaking of conversations, do you feel like you are having constant pastoral conversations wherever you go. Starbucks. Walmart. Taco Bell. They can happen everywhere!
If you live in a smaller community, you probably can’t go to a store without seeing at least one church member. And if you’re in a larger community, the reality is that word will get out that you’re a pastor. And people come to pastor’s for advice.
The constant pressure to “be on” can be tough! But it’s a part of taking on the mantle of being a pastor.
This can be cup filling, but also it can be really draining if you don’t take moment to recharge. Find yourself a safe place. Somewhere quiet or secluded where you can be by yourself and refill your cup. And if someone finds your safe spot, put on some big sunglasses and a hat and walk away very fast. Just kidding. Kind of.
You just finished this week’s youth group and it was epic! Your students laughed at your jokes, really got into your games, and even raised their hands in worship. It was an awesome night!
Now what are you going to do next week?
The weekly clock never stops ticking. Youth group is always just around the corner! Programming can be daunting. But that’s what DYM is here for. Not only are there resources for you to check out and use so that you don’t have to spend all of your work time messing with graphics or coming up with new game ideas, you can also steal what Josh did last week.
Or, if you want to up your game, check out his training series “Becoming a Pro at Programming” to get some tips on how you can master this skill and not dread the day after youth group when you’ve got to come up with a whole new game plan.
Small churches like to think that big churches have all the volunteers because they have so many people! Big churches like to think that small churches are just like a family and pitch in whenever there’s a need.
The reality is that both big and small church youth ministries need volunteers. The big churches usually assume that they have plenty of people so obviously THEY don’t have to volunteer. And small churches usually think that they’re paying for a youth pastor, why should THEY have to volunteer?
It’s tough being a volunteer. They have jobs, families, hobbies, interests, and frankly lives outside of youth ministry.
But you need volunteers to make your ministry run. And there’s always turnover happening.
Sometimes the problem is that you need to train your volunteers really well to help them feel equipped for the task ahead. National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry Training is just around the corner! You also need to make sure you’re not OVER taxing your volunteers so that it’s a joy to spend time at youth group.
What to do:
Feeling the pressure yet? Well, we can’t just put a nice bow on it and say “Alright, we’re all done here!” But what we can say is YOU’RE NOT ALONE!
Every youth pastor feels these very real pressures. And they are real! While DYM can help with some of these like training volunteers and showing you how to be a program ninja, the reality is you need to work towards remembering that no matter how heavy the weight of these pressures get, Jesus is there with you.
And also, reach out to some other youth pastors in the area. Or in the DYM Facebook Community Page. Find people who you can talk with, pray with, celebrate with, and yeah, sometimes complain to.
You’re not alone!
We’re in this together.
Josh, Doug, and Jess talked about these on the DYM Podcast. Check it out here.