My "Youth Ministry Cycle," Re-examined
I've blogged before about something I call a “youth ministry cycle,” the time that a Youth Pastor stays with a youth ministry before moving on to another. Personally, I’ve always felt the best practice was for a youth minister (circumstances permitting) to stay with a youth ministry for at least one full cycle, i.e., long enough to see your 6th or 7th grade class graduate from high school.
I’ve held to this idea of a full youth ministry cycle since I started working with youth ministries as a volunteer my freshman year in high school. In my opinion, it’s the ideal way to not only build credibility, but it develops relational authenticity; six or seven years of shared memories creates a deep bond that lasts long after a student has passed through our ministries. When youth groups lose a youth pastor every two to three years it tends to make them feel like their youth ministers don't really care.
And so, I promised myself I would never be one of those youth ministers. I would never stay for only two to three years. I promised myself I’d be the youth minister to break the pattern and stay at my first full-time youth ministry gig for at least six years.
And here I am: a little over two years later at a new Church. I stayed for two years then moved four states away to be in a new youth ministry position.
I broke my own philosophy of a youth ministry cycle. Want to know what happened?
See, when I started at the Church as a part-time youth minister in 2010 I was a single guy. The small salary was enough to support myself and my needs (video games, frozen pizza, and Redbox; you know, the essentials). Two years later I’m married to a beautiful woman. My wife wants to attend graduate school and there were no reputable grad schools in the area. My priorities in life are God, family, and youth ministry. And so, after much prayer, I knew God was calling me to put my family above my “youth ministry cycle” philosophy.
Was this difficult? Absolutely. I felt like I was abandoning my students. Leaving them out to dry. Had I unintentionally used them as a stepping-stone to a bigger and better position? I felt like I had a lot of attention, guidance, and love still left to give.
I struggled with some really mixed feelings. But God helped me realize something: he helped me see how stupid I was acting!
John 15:5 says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
You see, God sometimes makes big changes in our lives. God transforms students. I’m a mere vessel. God is the vine. I’m just a branch. He’s in control.
Do I still believe in my youth ministry cycle? Yes.
I think longevity is a vital part to a healthy ministry ... when it can be accomplished. Do I still think it's the only way to do youth ministry? No.
Sometimes things happen and it's more important to trust God's will and His amazing power more than our own. It took a lot of time for me to make the decision to leave my first youth ministry position and the students I had come to love. I had to humble myself and my views on my youth ministry cycle and do ministry the only way it can be done - with God in control.
- Octavia CarterHello I'm New Here!!
- Octavia CarterHello I'm New Here!!
- Octavia Carter just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost May Jesus Christ Be The Ultimate Treasure We Always Seek by Debbie Harris..
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost Father Who Can We Graciously And Humbly Walk Beside Today Just To Love by Debbie Harris.
- Bryce Johnson just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Bill Reichart published the blogpost 13 Resources For Ministry Leaders Who Struggle with Porn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Expert Reveals Biggest Concern About Youngsters And Social Media.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Half (54%) Of US Teens Think Life Would Be Better Without Social Media.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Roy Lichtenstein's Most Popular Painting is Displayed.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost After Confronting Campus Bully, HS Football Player Gets Suspended.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Conservative Student Is Victim Of ‘Racist Rape Apologist’ Attack Fliers.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Yik Yak app Putting Teens Behind Bars, Police Warn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Hearing That Things Can Change Helps Teens Dodge Depression.
- Andrew Shivers just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost GIVEAWAY: Win a Framed “The Fault in Our Stars” FULL SIZE Movie Poster [Winner Chosen].
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost ‘Boxtrolls:’ Incredible Animation, Charmless Story.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Video of the Day: Dad Lip-Syncs Daughter's Tantrum.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost SOTW: ‘Chasing After The Wind’ by Alan Powell (Free Friday Download).
- Matt Perman published the blogpost The Drive Video: If You Want Engagement, Self-Direction is Better.
- LuAnn Braley published the blogpost BOOK REVIEW/INTERVIEW: The Unexpected Earl by Philippa Jane Keyworth.
- Shane Blackshear published the blogpost Seminary Dropout 55: Gary Black Jr. – Co-author of The Divine Conspiracy Continued.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost ‘Believe Me': Alum’s thought-provoking film now in theaters.
- Michael Ramsey published the blogpost Stress Kills!!! Here's 3 Ways To Do Something About It.
- Larry Carter published the blogpost How The New Fall TV Season Reminds Me Of The Gospel.
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Personal Responsibility Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost 20 Approaches to Battling Depression-Anxiety as Suffering.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Hellion’ is A Wild, Family-Driven Ride Worth Taking.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ is Cool, Uncommitted.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost “Kidnapped for Christ” Review: The Terror of Teens.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Pieces Together a Winning Team.
- Ashley Howland published the blogpost Talking about cancer on WFAA’s ‘Two Chairs’ series.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Get Excited: New ‘Believe Me’ Trailer Validates Everything We Thought.
- solomon david published the blogpost Micromax Canvas Nitro Launched for Rs 12,990 in India.
- solomon david published the blogpost 20 Mobile (iOS, Android) App & Web Prototyping Tools – Part2.