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KurtJohnston

Kurt Johnston has been a youth pastor since 1988 and currently leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted voices in youth ministry, Kurt loves to encourage other youth workers and has written and created over 50 books and resources with that goal in mind. In his free time, Kurt enjoys surfing and riding dirt bikes in the desert with his wife and two children.

Today, we wrap up our little series on what I like to call Ministerial Intelligence. To recap:

Ministerial Intelligence involves three key ministry arenas:

1)     THE PLACE: The ability to understand and navigate the nuances of your particular organization.

2)     THE PRACTICES: Proficiency at the various “practices” of youth ministry; the stuff we do.

3)     THE PEOPLE: The ability to develop people, win the trust of people etc.

As a youth worker you aren’t in the event planning business, the game running business, the camp organizing business or even the bible teaching business. You are in the people business. And as your people skills increase, so will the likelihood of a long ministry career in your setting.  Here are three people skills every youth worker needs to master:

1) Building a Team of People. There’s a never-ending cycle at which you need Jedi-like skills: Enlisting people to join your team and Equipping, Empowering and Encouraging them once they are on board.

2) Gaining the Trust of People. Whether it’s parents, other men and women on the church staff, students in your ministry, the school principal or the church janitor, people’s trust is a wonderful thing to have. It can be hard to get and easy to lose, but being a man or woman who is trusted by those you serve is arguably the single most important part of ministerial intelligence.

3) Seeing the Best in People. Because you are in the people business, people will oftentimes give you the business! And time and again I’ve watched youth workers slide into a pattern of viewing the people we serve through a skeptical, sarcastic, hardened lens. Life is messy, and it makes for messy people. People who are hurt. And people who are hurt usually hurt other people. For the good of your soul, the good of those you serve and the good of your ministry career, practice the art of choosing to see the best in people.

There’s no silver bullet for ensuring a long, successful youth ministry career. There’s no guarantee that the organization you currently serve will be the same organization you are serving in five, ten or fifteen years. But if you want it to be, developing a high ministerial intelligence is a great place to start!

- Kurt

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