Sometimes a good way to look at things is by checking out the flip side of the coin, if you know what I mean. Let’s talk about…
HOW <NOT> TO BE A SUPERHERO YOUTH PASTOR/WORKER:
Never grow up.
Responsibility? Safety? Schedules? Communication? Respect? Rules? If your goal is to try to be like one of the teenagers, I’d be concerned about the health of your group for a variety of reasons.
Make sure that your self worth and security is based on feeling needed.
If you are a needy person, please don’t expect to get that from the “I love you / I hate you” up and down world of junior high ministry. They can’t help it; it’s just where they’re at developmentally. On a side note, as a leader (of any position), you will NOT be liked all the time – this includes parents and students in your ministry. Sorry!
Thrive on being wild and crazy.
Don’t try to become someone you are not. If you think that being hyper all the time is going to keep students’ attention, then good luck with that. I think authenticity speaks to students more than anything else. Just be who God made you and don’t try to “pretty it up”. You look better without make-up on anyway.
Go for comfortable.
Even though going the route of comfortable doesn’t promote life-change or encourage students to grow spiritually, it seems like the easy route that a lot of us choose to take. If Jesus’ challenge to “make disciples” and “go into all of the world” isn’t being offered, we’re falling far short of God’s best for our ministries. Are students being challenged in their faith? Are they being stretched? Are they growing in their relationship with God? Are they actively loving others?
Know what’s going on in student culture and student ministry at ALL times.
Being a student of culture is good. Being immersed in it, I’m not so sure. I’m thankful for resources like The Source’s “Youth Culture Window”, the CPYU, and YPulse to keep me informed without having to be drowning in a sea of it.
There are a lot of qualities youth pastors should have. For the flip side of this post, read Jeremy Zach’s article from earlier this week.
[Photo by: Thomas Milne]