You might assume by the title of this post that I’m concurrently working on my resume and a blog post, but I’m excited about sharing this post with you and with my own church leaders as we seek to make Christ famous. I am also eager to hear back from you on what you would share with your church leaders, and I hope this post will be a great conversation starter.
I know that every denomination and every church has a different structure and different definitions of “leadership.” In my church, we are locally governed by a group of elders, as qualified by 1 Timothy 3. These are men that I respect, love, and am honored to serve with. With that context in place, here we go.
Dear Church Leaders,
Let me start by saying that I am honored to serve in the Kingdom with you. You have been called by God, appointed, and affirmed by our congregation to lead and govern us as a Body. You bear a heavy burden, and I am thankful for your leadership, your devotion to our Lord and His church, and I write this letter with a submissive heart. As a co-laborer in Christ, I’d like to share some things from my heart that may encourage and challenge you. I hope this can open the door to more collaboration in the future.
1. Your interest in the Youth Ministry means more than you know. As I speak with fellow Youth Ministers, one of the most common mantras I hear is “I wish my leadership was more aware of what we are doing.” I know you are busy, and there is no way you can be involved with every ministry in our church. But you have no idea how encouraging it is to see our leaders stick their head into youth group on a Wednesday or Sunday night, to volunteer to run an inflatable at a 5th Quarter, or even just to ask us in the hallway how the ministry is going. Those little connections make a BIG difference!
2. Embrace our differences. One of the greatest things about the Body of Christ is that it is full of very different people serving One God in very different ways. There are a lot of things about the students I minister to that would probably blow your mind, and the methods I employ may not make sense to you, but I hope I have proven that you can trust me. Students live online through smartphones and tablets. They spend HOURS on Snapchat, Kik, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and more. I know we may be very different, but I’m certain we both have a place for ministry in this congregation. So, forgive me when it sounds like I’m speaking Greek, or when I’m asking for some gadget in my budget that weirds you out. Hear me out, and I guarantee I’ll have a reason for it. Then, we can go from there.
3. Give me feedback…any feedback…please. I believe with all of my heart that God has called me to this ministry, and specifically to ministry in this church. I think about youth ministry when I get up, when I go to bed, and almost every minute in between. I’d love to hear from you about your perceptions concerning our youth ministry. I have blind spots, and I need your feedback so that I can improve. Be honest, be kind, but I want to be the absolute best Youth Minister possible. You can help me with that.
4. Don’t be afraid to try something crazy. One truth about leadership that I learned early on was that you will never make everyone happy. You have been given a huge responsibility to shepherd and lead the flock, and sometimes, that means shaking people up. I challenge you to take a leap every now and then, think outside the box, and make people uncomfortable. Some of the best decisions I’ve ever made in ministry seemed a little crazy at the start. I know it may mean criticism from time to time, but don’t be afraid to try something new and different.
5. Pray for our students. Our students are in a crazy world. Many of them have difficult home lives, some struggle with abuse and neglect. Others are being pressured by coaches, parents, teachers, and school administrators to perform at near-perfect levels in every area of life. It seems that the students’ calendars are more full than mine with academics, athletics, church, extracurriculars, and more. Lift them up in prayer often. It would be greatly appreciated.
I am praying for you, for our church, and for your leadership. I believe we can do some amazing things together for the Kingdom, and I am eager and ready to follow your lead. Let’s do this!