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If you want a strong youth ministry in your assembly, you have to support them. We may not always understand or agree with new methods of ministry, but support is vital if we want the Church to grow.
We often want the success (ie. YCNL with 2000+ youth attending), but it doesn’t start with success. It starts with supporting our youth ministries and supporting the journey before and after the special events and moments of success. That might sound obvious, but I’m not sure if we all actually do it well.
The Youth Pastor is my wife…
I have the privilege of being married to the Youth Pastor. That privilege can also be quite the challenge. I’m in the role of Lead Pastor, which means I’m the husband and, on paper, the leader of my wife. I have to be supportive and fair at the same time.
We recently found ourselves in a “communication casualty.” Long story short, I had to apologize and ensured her that I would take the fall. I did that, not because I’m her husband or her Lead Pastor, but because I’m both and my support will directly impact our relationship and our youth ministry.
I wish it was always that easy. Truth be told, we find ourselves experiencing a “communication casualty” more often than we should.
But it did get me thinking. How can we make sure we are supporting our youth? I’ve come up with six ways, but I’m sure you can add to it as well! Help us all out and comment below with ways you’ve supported your local youth ministry.
1. Value Our Youth With Action
When I was a teenager, there were times when the youth were “blamed” every time damage was found in church building. “I’d say the youth broke that…” Unfortunately, that led to a “new rule” to ensure it never happened again. Did I feel valued? Not exactly.
Our church community (Bethel) just finished putting together our “values.” What I found so encouraging was that NO ONE mentioned “our building” on that list of values, but DID mentioned “our youth” several times. So, if we value our youth, let them make a mess on the carpet, make them clean it up, and let them do it again! We have to respect the building, but, more importantly, we need to ensure we value our youth before the “carpet”.
2. Provide Financial Support
Make a “no strings attached” donation to the youth group. I’m not a fan of fundraising within the church. I don’t mind fundraising outside the church, but not inside the Church. We shouldn’t need to receive something in order to give something. If we want to financially support our youth, the only reward we really need is watching them grow in their spiritual journey.
3. Pray for Our Youth
Our youth are in the middle of some of the biggest life-changing moments of their lives and our leaders are attempting to help them through those moments. They need our prayer. What we can’t afford, are empty prayers. If we truly want to lift up our youth in prayer, we need to ask for a list of names and/or specific ministries to pray for. Prayer works!
4. Ask How You Can Help
If we ask our Youth Leaders how we can help, I promise we will brighten their day. They may have to get back to us, but they will get back to us with something! At the end of the day, what we think is “nothing” could be the very thing that our leaders struggle with.
5. Selflessly Volunteer
It’s one thing to simply volunteer because youth ministry is fun (ie. YC). It’s another thing to volunteer with a serving mentality. The difference is WHY we’re present. Servanthood is when we are serving others, not ourselves. It means we volunteer to ensure our youth have the best experience possible. We need to be willing to lose out on our experience so that our youth experience God for themselves. That doesn’t mean we stop growing, that means we find another time and space to personally grow. We need to learn to selflessly serve.
6. Support our Youth Pastors/Leaders
Whether they’re paid or unpaid, they need our full support. That might mean simply thanking them and letting them know they’re doing a great job, to sacrificially sponsoring events like YC or Youth Camp so it costs less for teenagers to go, to keeping the youth group in mind when you’re upgrading your couch set (every youth leader wishes they had a “youth hangout area!”) Do something to show your support!
How will you support your youth? Have I missed a great way to support our youth? Comment below with an example…
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