My back story is that I went from serving a coupla hundred youth to a church where there were nine students from 6th-12th grade. Nine! I had no idea what to do with that. The truth is being the youth director wasn’t even in my job description, but I couldn’t help myself…so we started to casually meet on Wednesday nights for study, projects, event planning, etc. Ya know – youth group. I had NO idea what small churches went through to have any kind of ministry to its youth…but I caught on pretty quickly.
You have a hard calling. Some of you get paid; most of you don’t. Yet all of you put WAY more hours into your youth ministry than many of your churches realize. I would bet that if you had to stop volunteering as the leader and your church had to hire someone to do what you do, they couldn’t afford it on the $1000-$2000 they have allocated towards youth. (Not a complaint; just a reality). You struggle with low numbers, volunteer inconsistency, few resources, no dedicated youth space…and did I mention a small budget? (I know: these struggles are similar to large church struggles, but its just not the same. Try planning an event thinking you’ll have #12 and then #2 show up. It’s different. Try teaching a Sunday school class with 3 students who are spread across 7 years of age.)
Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Don’t think your ministry is any less valuable because its not the “big ministry down the road.” Don’t imagine your impact is any less than a paid youth worker’s. Don’t think you’re not as good at ministry as “the pros.”
Here’s the litmus test: Do you love your kids? Yes. Do you give them the best of what you have to give? Yes. Are you making ministry happen with a “2 fish/5 loaves” kinda budget and resource closet? Yes. Do you have students that are growing, serving, loving? Yes. Are you having fun along the way? Yes. (Usually. There are still church politics, board meetings, etc 🙂
You’re doing great. Keep it up. Don’t quit. Get ready for another great school year of ministry to students. How can I help? No, really – How can I help?