One of my favorite parts of youth ministry is meeting with other youth ministers. Hearing their stories, learning from their paradigms and just knowing that I’m not alone in the journey has been a blessing. I didn’t always feel this way. I at one time resented meeting with other youth workers because I thought it would mean more work. I thought meeting with other youth ministers meant planning events, and proving that my ministry was just as good (if not better) than theirs.
It’s easy to have that attitude because it’s fueled by jealousy and insecurity. What you need to do is go from looking at networking as a comparison game to one where you can help each other in the journey. Networking is a powerful tool because it will:
- Help you grow as a leader
- Remind you that you are not alone
- Give you support in new ways
To get the most out of networking make sure you:
- Don’t Always Have An Agenda: Sometimes you just need to hang out and do life with fellow youth ministers. That means ordering some pizza, grabbing some coffee and sharing life. Talk about your families, your hobbies and allow them to get to know you as a person outside the job. The more you can grow relationally the better it will be for you to serve one another.
- Go Deeper: While you might not become good friends with everyone in your network, find ways that you can go deeper. This will allow you to grow stronger as a disciple and knock down any jealousy you have of the other guy. To go deeper set aside time to pray and lookout for resources that will help you grow as leaders as well as disciples of Christ.
- Grow The Group: If you already have a group of youth ministers that meets together, look at growing it. Growing the group encourages growth because of new insights and ideas. That means always being on the look out for the new guy. Maybe it’s traveling to other networks or interdenominationally.
A strong network of youth ministers is key not only for you but the entire community. When different churches work together the community will have the support it needs during events and tragedies. Knock down the walls, reach out and grow together.
How do you network with other youth ministers?
Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)