Leadership | Programming | Volunteers
Youth Ministry Architects

blog by Jeff Dunn-Rankin

“Hey Jeff,” he said. “You’ll never guess where I’m going!”

Will sounded eager and excited. But he sounds like that most of the time.

“I’m going to the beach,” he said. “Isn’t that amazing?”

Not so much, actually. Will’s a surfer dude youth pastor. Where else would he be going?

“You don’t understand,” Will said. “Tonight, we’re having the biggest youth ministry event since I’ve been at this church. And not only am I going to the beach this afternoon, but everybody knows it, and they’re cool with it.”

This was to be a sit-down dinner for 35-plus youth and parents. Will was unveiling the calendar for the next eight months and casting a vision of where God might be taking the youth ministry in 2013. But he was spending the afternoon at the beach

OK, that did qualify as amazing, especially when you consider that Will had only been at that church for three months.

He rattled off the list of adult volunteers who were helping him – most of whom weren’t involved before he was hired. Tom and Susan along with Renee and Jeff cooked dinner. Kale and Matthew took lead on games. Lori and Amanda took charge of worship. Tracy and Julia took lead on the organization of the night.

I mentioned, didn’t I, that he had only been at the church three months? See, Will decided that one his highest priorities was to build the team. So worked the phone, the aisles, the lobby, and whatever else he needed to work. He didn’t just ask for helpers –he did the slow but essential work of building relationships. And it paid off.

“I prepped my lesson, and studied my calendar, and now I’m going to the beach,” he laughed as he said it for about the tenth time.

“You know what I just realized?” he said. “When you work it this way, the only things you have to do are the things that you actually have to do.”

Jeff Dunn-Rankin Vice President of Consulting Jeff has been Director of Youth at Christ United Methodist Church in Venice, FL since 1998. He has consulted with large and small youth and children’s ministries from California to Florida and is a frequent speaker at events from the Group/Simply Convention to KidMin. He is a regular columnist for Group Magazine, and In 2011, Jeff wrote two books, Before You Hire a Youth Pastor and The Indispensable Youth Pastor (Group Publishing), both co-authored with YMA President & Founder, Mark DeVries.

Before beginning church ministry, Jeff was managing editor of the Charlotte Sun newspaper. Jeff is a graduate of the Sewanee: The University of the South and has a Masters in Business Administration from VanderbiltUniversity. He currently lives in Venice, Florida, with his wife Mary Lou, and two children, Matthew and Katie.

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