- How do I deal with a pastoral staff that is not supportive of my ministry?
This one can be hard, depending on who you’re talking about. The easy answer is to work through it with them according to the Biblical model. I would check out one of our guides, Guide: Letting A Leader Go. Though it’s about letting a leader go, it’s helpful in dealing with the conflict side of this question. If the unsupportive person is your boss, the answer is a bit similar, but the ending is tricky. You still need to work through the Biblical model, but at the end of the day, if it’s less about conflict and more about support/trust in how you lead the ministry, you may need to consider changing churches. It’s almost impossible to get things done if your boss is 100% unsupportive. When leaving any system, make sure to leave well and work hard to keep relationships intact.
- How do I deal with immorality in my volunteer staff?
Firstly, this is similar to question #11. Secondly, it depends on the immorality. Some things can be worked through, such as too much alcohol, porn issues, etc., but if they have done something to or with a student, automatic dismissal is the only course of action. However, restoration should be part of the conversation. The best piece of advice I can give you is ALWAYS involve your senior leadership in these kinds of conversations. They will have your back and can give you guidance on what to do.
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of having an all ages youth group vs. separated ages?
In 18 years of youth ministry, I have tried both ways and every other combination I can think of. I have seen successful models for them all, and what I have discovered is that it 100% comes down to two factors:
- The first is your own personal taste. Some pastors like it separate because they can focus on a dedicated group of students. Some like it together because it puts all their manpower and resources into one night. Regardless, it’s about chasing one method and owning it.
- The second is that your church culture/community will often determine this for you.
However, no matter what you choose, you will LEAVE KIDS OUT. You will never get 100% compliance and you need to be okay with that. When making this decision, I recommend starting with the following questions:
- What works with our church schedule?
- What works for my leaders?
- What works for my core families?
- What works for my students?
- How can I best prepare for and avoid temptation/sin in my ministry?
Accountability, acceptability, accountability… oh yeah, and accountability. The most important thing you can do is create a community of people from outside of your ministry that you can be 100% open and honest with. They can ask you the tough questions, and you know that they are a safe place because they are not connected to your job.
- Is there a wrong way to do youth ministry? What does that look like?
I’m not sure that there is a wrong way to do youth ministry, but the closest thing I can think of is when youth becomes 100% relationship time, and Jesus is hard to find. It’s easier to have this happen to you than you might think, especially in smaller settings where the “party” draws a crowd over the Bible study night. When this happens, you essentially become the “boys and girls club” with a sprinkle of Jesus.