5 Simple Ways to Gain Respect from Your Church Leaders

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Having been a youth minister for well over a decade now, I think I have heard all of the ridiculous statements and stereotypes about youth ministers. We are lazy, disorganized, and never take anything seriously. We only work on Sundays. All we do is play games and order pizza. And my personal favorite: when we “grow up,” we might “get our own church.”

While I’m not certain where these stereotypes originated, the crop of youth ministers I interact with regularly just don’t fit that mold. Almost every youth minister I connect with regularly is working hard, giving and sacrificing time, energy, and resources, and thoroughly thinking through ways to improve the ministry God has entrusted them with.

Despite this trend, we constantly see youth ministers in the YouthMin Facebook group that are struggling to gain the respect of church leaders. So we created a list of some simple, fool-proof ways to gain respect from your church leaders. These won’t solve every problem, but they will till the soil so respect and admiration can grow.

1.  Work hard
One of the easiest ways to communicate your passion for youth ministry is to be a workhorse. Show up early, be prepared, go the extra mile, be available, and churn out great content. If people can’t find you during office hours, you are chronically unprepared, and regularly on the golf course, someone WILL question your work ethic. One of the most respected players in any locker room is the guy who shows up first and leaves last. Be that guy!

2.  Communicate…a lot
Leaders generally don’t like to be surprised, especially by an angry parent or concerned member. The best way to endear yourself to your leaders is to keep them informed. When I respond to a parent, I often carbon copy my ministry elder or senior minister. When I have a confrontation at church or an issue arises, I email my elders. When I taught on sex, love, and romance last week, I told the parents ahead of time and made sure to have a couple elders in the room as I spoke. Communication breeds trust.

3.  Be a great teammate
The hallmarks of a great teammate are loyalty, communication, respect, honesty, trust, and commitment. By being a great teammate to your fellow staff members and elders, you will receive respect in return. NEVER put down an elder or staff member to a person in your church. NEVER lie or stretch the truth to your teammates. Hold the nitty gritty details of meetings in the strictest confidence. Be loyal to a fault.

4.  Be consistent
Consistency breeds trust. When you are consistent in your dealings with people, how you plan and execute events, and the ways you communicate, trust will naturally follow. On our staff at Hazelwood, we have a Senior Minister who has led for 35 years. Other staff members have been in their positions for 14 years, 13 years, and 7 years. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to work in an environment where there is so much consistency. We know how our teammates operate, how we respond to criticism, and we know that loyalty is the norm. Consistency pays huge dividends, so make it a priority.

5.  Stick around for a long time
There are so many benefits of longevity that I can’t enumerate all of them here, but trust, respect, and added responsibility are certainly among them. When I came to Hazelwood as a 22-year old youth minister fresh out of college, parents and leaders questioned me a lot…and I don’t blame them. I was young, inexperienced, and learning on the fly. Having been here for 13+ years now, I am often given the benefit of the doubt instead of a barrage of questions. Our staff, elders, parents, and students know I’m here to stay, and that leads to a lot of trust.

As I stated above, this list won’t save you from every difficult situation or tough conversation, but you might be surprised how far they will take you when it comes to gaining the respect of your leaders. What would you add to the list?

Poll Question 5: How Important is it to Network with Other Youth Ministers?

If your town is anything like mine, your church isn’t the only one nearby.  And more than likely, there are other Youth Ministers within 50 miles of you.  Do you connect with them?  Work with them on camps, retreats, ministry events, and outreach nights?  We at YouthMin want to know!

In my own region, we have a lot of opportunities to network and work together with other Youth Ministers.  Countywide youth ministry lunches, camps, statewide conventions like Jr. High Journey, and our Indianapolis Youth Minister lunches provide great opportunities to meet, pray with, and team up with other Youth Ministers.  We’d love to hear how you feel about this aspect of ministry.  We’d also love to hear your REASONING in the comments.  Why did you answer the way you did?  Looking forward to hearing your voice!

Keep being extraordinary!

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Poll Question 5: How Important is it to Network with Other Youth Ministers?

If your town is anything like mine, your church isn’t the only one nearby.  And more than likely, there are other Youth Ministers within 50 miles of you.  Do you connect with them?  Work with them on camps, retreats, ministry events, and outreach nights?  We at YouthMin want to know!

In my own region, we have a lot of opportunities to network and work together with other Youth Ministers.  Countywide youth ministry lunches, camps, statewide conventions like Jr. High Journey, and our Indianapolis Youth Minister lunches provide great opportunities to meet, pray with, and team up with other Youth Ministers.  We’d love to hear how you feel about this aspect of ministry.  We’d also love to hear your REASONING in the comments.  Why did you answer the way you did?  Looking forward to hearing your voice!

Keep being extraordinary!

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FREE Encouraging Instagram Graphics

Social media is a great way to encourage followers, including your students, their parents, and the church body you serve.  From time to time, I love to create some Instagram graphics that highlight a Scripture, a quote, or the lyrics of a great worship song to encourage those who follow me online.

You can download 9 ready-to-post Instagram images from our store at http://youthminresources.com/product/encouraging-instagram-images/

Poll Question 4: What Presentation Software Do You Use?

One question we see on the YouthMin.org Facebook group often concerns the presentation software we all use for our Youth Ministry.  We know the importance of having the capability to share game slides, lesson slides, advertisement graphics, video clips, and more.  But based on your budget, your technological expertise, and your youth room setup, you may prefer one presentation software over another.

We’d love to know what software you use, and you can even share a brief comment below about WHY you love the presentation software you use.  Looking forward to seeing the results.  Also, don’t forget to check out the YouthMinResources.com site for great games and resources you can use with your software.

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