INTRO: A class of 1st year Youth Ministry students asked 40 questions at a recent panel discussion I was part of. We were able to answer only a fraction of the questions, so I decided to take the time to answer all 40 of them. Here are the answers 5 at a time.
- How do you love on the kids who show nothing but hostility and aggression towards you or others?
I’m reminded of what Jesus says in Mark 2, how he has come for the sick. Every student ministry will have kids that are hard, hostile, and may not like you. But those are the kids that need Jesus the most, and God has placed them in your group for a reason. Here are a few things you can try…
- Pray for them daily
- See if they connect with another leader better
- See if they connect with a core student
- Find out about their world! Oftentimes this helps us empathize with these kids.
NOTE: If they are physical or verbally hostile/abusive toward others, then they cannot stay. That’s a hard conversation to have, and one you will need to walk into it with your Sr. Pastor and church leadership, but if people are going to be harmed/bullied, that’s unacceptable.
- How do you have meaningful conversations with youth in small timeframes?
You need to shift your thinking from a sprint to a marathon. Think of every conversation as an opportunity to build momentum. Over time, you will get to a place of depth, but the short bursts mean it may take a while. So, don’t get discouraged and keep at it.
- What if no youth are coming to youth?
Check out this post: https://freshministry.ca/2018/06/14/its-not-about-you/
- How do you get parents to respect you?
The word you’re looking for is not respect, but trust. I think trust is a better word because if you have their trust, you not only get to speak into the lives of their child, but they will let you speak into their lives as well. The only way to do this is to be consistent over time and remember that every student has a parent. So, if you’re blowing past your time every week, parents waiting to pick up their children will get frustrated. If you’re telling kids to ignore their parents, they’ll get mad. However, if you regularly and over time champion parents and students together and respect them, they will all trust you. A good resource for all of this is http://thinkorange.com.
- How did you find a job as a youth minister?
My very first job came off a flyer on my Bible school’s job board. But, that was a long time ago. These days, the best approach is either going through a district office or by word-of-mouth. Many church jobs don’t get posted outside of the church or denominational circle. So, talking directly with denominations or networking key church leaders is key to finding a job. Relationships are powerful tools, and remember to always pay it forward when someone asks you for help one day.