It seems like much of what’s written to help youth workers only addresses those who are married: balancing life with kids, making time for your spouse, and the like. All good and important stuff, but a little alienating to the incredible youth workers who are doing ministry as a single person. Today we’ve got some insight for youth workers who are single and serving.
Set up clear boundaries.
Just because you’re not married doesn’t mean you should work like the devil. Satan has never been a strong example to follow and there’s no doubt if he can’t get our hearts, he’ll make us busy—even busy doing the Lord’s work. Making sure you have space for a life outside of the church is wise and will help you keep a healthy balance as you march one step at a time toward longevity. Don’t allow yourself to be run ragged just because you don’t have a family expecting you home for dinner each night.
Take advantage of the single life.
Not intending to say the opposite of what we just said above…but take advantage of some of the freedoms the single life brings, and invest relationally with students. Grab dinners with families; enjoy an extra night out at a sporting event or visiting a small group. Don’t be afraid to keep clear boundaries, but also use this season strategically, too.
Go back to school.
One of the ways you can maximize your time as a single youth worker is to go back to school while you continue serving. While it might not sound appealing, think about how much better it is than with a spouse and four kids at home on top of your 45+ hour a week job. For many youth workers, if they don’t go back to school in this window of their lives, they’ll never go back at all.
Never leave room for speculation.
Being single in ministry increases the attention to your relationships, and unfortunately perception can become reality as you minister to teens. Make sure you always are keenly aware of your perception. Make sure you never counsel students of the opposite sex alone. Make sure you are above reproach since you may be under increased scrutiny.
Look for love outside of the church, too.
Too often we hear about single youth workers getting set up by everyone and their mother (literally!). Everyone knows the great guy for the single youth worker or the perfect woman who will complete you as a youth pastor. Forget it! While you just might find Mr. Right within the church walls, make sure you have a healthy life outside the church in case God has them there, too.
What advice would you give single youth workers?
This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.