Personal Goals for Beginning in Youth Ministry

I woke up this morning about two hours before I wanted to, but I found myself thinking and praying through my future youth ministry at St. Andrew’s by the Sea in Hilton Head.  I will inevitably receive the vision and goals from the church, and I will begin to implement them according to their practicality, but I thought it irresponsible not to have my own personal goals.  I also thought that it would be good to make them clear, rather than have them swirl around in my mind to have them be forgotten.  This is an exploration of my personal goals, and it is theoretical, so I’ll keep you updated as things actually develop.  I’ll use this post as a personal report card as I move forward.

On the macro level, I want to do a few things with the Students, Parents, and Staff:

(1) Listen: Why? I need to learn their context, their stories, and their history as a group.  If I don’t get this down, I will not effectively minister.

(2) Identify Leadership: I need to find out who are the movers and shakers so I’m not a lone ranger (I don’t want to be shot at without a good team to work with) – especially those who don’t see themselves that way.  I have to look at potential and actual leaders in order to begin developing the future of the YM relational team, as well as the student leadership team, and a possible Parent Council, and Parent Support team.

(3) Cast Vision: It would benefit the ministry, if I am clear on what my vision of youth ministry is (even as it becomes contextualized to Hilton Head/Beaufort County’s situation).  This is dependent on two things.  (a) How well am I listening to assess needs, and (b) How well do I know what God is calling us as a ministry to do together as God’s community.

(4) Find Support: Who are my allies as I begin to reach out?  Who wishes me the best, and will lend resources to the ministry?  Who will walk beside me, rather than behind me?

(5) Equip Others: I’ve been working in youth ministry for a while, and I’ve studied how to minister to youth for a while as well.  Somehow, I have to build a relational presence with all that come into the youth ministry, that will give others all the tools they need to be effective youth ministers.  That means that I should not hold any special knowledge or tools to myself, as if I am special.  All that I have belongs to my team, and I must become effective in making resources available readily and freely so that my team feels fulfilled and continues to grow in their personal relationships with students.

(6) Serve: begin understanding the needs of those the church serves, and push out the boundaries beyond the church to the community.  This doesn’t mean saying yes to everything people want you to do.  It means finding out essential human needs of the congregation that go beyond what happens in the churches walls.  Is a congregant sick?  Visit, bring a gift that shows love.  Is a community member in mourning for a lost relative?  Pray for them, and go with them to the wake/memorial service.  Meet their family, and listen to the stories.  Share in another’s greif, and bear their burden with them.  Also, if something breaks, fix it.  Never assume that someone else will come along and do what needs to be done.  You are the one brought to the situation for a reason.  If it is within your knowledge and skill set, get to work.

(7) Remain in God: I will need to rely on God for all that I lack. Not only that, but even with what I have, I need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to walk in the right direction.  There are so many variables that only God knows, and I would be arrogant to claim that I will not fail.  God will fill in the gaps, and I will live in my brokenness as well as my victories.  I will not pretend to be perfect.  Because of this, I will need to be open and listening to God at all times (praying without ceasing, living in community with God and His people), with specific times for devotion that is not study related.  Time must be spent merely in the individual celebration of the God who created our universe, simply for the mercy that He created us, and that He has given us all we need to live a good and holy life.

Since 7 is a good Biblically round number, I’ll top it off there on the macro.

On the micro/practical level, I do have some goals that will be implemented in phases according to how my responsibilities are given to me.  I figure in the first 6 months, my first and primary responsibility will be to make as many relationships as possible, and to work on my memory for names and stories.  If I can’t remember a person’s name, or their story, I am not fully respecting them.  I pray that God will help me with that.  I also wish to begin team building, because I will burn out rather quickly if I do not have a team.  If there are few to help, then we will grow slowly. If there are many, and they are ready to lead, then we will grow more quickly as relationships with students are built.  I am excited to begin building a team and spreading the vision for reaching youth for Christ.  I also hope to begin finding allies and building a parent council/service group, and perhaps a few healthy adversaries who will challenge me to communicate more effectively or change when I am wrong.  Parent’s are responsible for the 99% of a student’s time, and thus, have the most influence in their lives, and so an effective partnership that is mutually equipping is necessary.  Last of all, I hope to build trust and confidence with the church staff who I will be working with.  It is my experience, that administration staff, fellow ministers, and volunteers that help the church run need to be respected and cared for just as any other congregant.  We are all human after all, and thus, we need to be listening and caring for each other.  The realization that we are considered fellow humans in God’s eyes before we became co-workers, I believe, allows us to have fun and be more effective.  We want to come and work together, rather than living in fear that our leaders are out to squeeze us into burnout.  I am looking for mutually beneficial, and Kingdom honoring relationships.  I realize that there will be kinks, but with the knowledge of the grace of Christ, I look forward to any challenge that comes along.

Oh, and I’ll also be running programs and stuff 😉  More on that later I suppose.

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