If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced this feeling-it all depends on me. It feels like every student’s personal relationship with Christ is connected to my ability to be perfect in ministry.
Because of that feeling, it’s easy to look at our ministries as our personal ministries. Why? Because we’re the professionals, right? We’re the youth PASTORS. So you and I often feel overwhelmed.
And because it all depends on us, it’s easy to view volunteers as people who primarily fill seats at youth events, keep kids quiet during worship services, and serve as counselors at the camps that we create.
But there is hope. This hope begins in these two words-fellow worker. This is how Paul refers to Urbanas, Timothy, Titus, Epaphroditus, and Philemon. They were not in the ministry to help Paul. Rather, they were all in it together. They were not his assistants, but rather his partners.
Those who volunteer in our youth ministries do so because God has called them to use their gifts and talents for His kingdom. And honestly, a whole lot of them are so much better than us, the trained professionals, in so many different ways. So what do we do?
- Humble yourself and admit-I don’t know what I’m doing. When you can confess that you are not able to do every area of ministry perfectly, and understand and accept the truth that you too have strengths and weaknesses in ministry, the closer you are to developing a team ministry that is effective and healthy.
- Pray. Jesus is very clear about praying that God would send out workers into His harvest field. So, pray-and pray specifically. If there is a part of the ministry that you know that you can not do well, pray that God would provide the person for that area.
- Hand off ministry. Give it away. And when I say, “Give it away,” I mean give it away. Micromanaging will kill any organization quicker than a flock of junior highers will run toward a cooler full of free Amp. When something fails, let it fail-your team member will learn from it. When it succeeds, give him or her the credit and ultimately God the glory.
- Enjoy your sanity. You might actually have some time to hang out with your family or take up a hobby.
I totally understand that this will take some time. It took me 15 years to finally realize that I don’t have to do everything by myself. Our job as pastors is to equip the saints, not to do the work for them. Most people want to get in the game. We need to become the coaches and let them become the starters.