Longevity In Ministry

Yesterday marked 9 years of professional ministry for me.  In the longevity of my ministry a lot has changed for me both personally and professionally.  I was originally hired as the middle school youth minister and now I know not only oversee the entire student but kid’s ministry as well.  I was dating a beautiful woman when I first started, and today we are married with two boys.  My perspectives as a parent, youth minister, and leader have changed over the years and I feel blessed to have been along for the journey.

If you want longevity in student ministry you need to first make it a goal, it doesn’t just happen.  I know that seems like obvious advice; however, there are many people who don’t take it serious at first.  It’s not an easy job, it’s something that will radically change your life.  If you want to be in youth ministry for the long haul you’ll need figure out how to navigate the hills and valleys.  To do that make sure you:

  • STAY HUMBLE: Again, youth ministry is a rocky journey.  You’ll be pushed, pulled and stretched out.  Staying humble means being slow to anger when a parent pushes you.  It means listening before speaking at a meeting.  It also means being open to the big and small ways God will bless you.  Stay humble and you’ll increase your longevity.
  • NETWORK AND CONNECT: There is so much to learn in student ministry and the best people to learn from are other youth workers.  Youth ministry is not meant to be done alone; therefore, connect virtually and locally with other men and women in the trenches.  They’ll not only give you ideas but serve as a sounding board when you need someone to listen.
  • SEEK ACCOUNTABILITY: The closer you get to God the more Satan is going to attack you.  He’ll attack you by exploiting your weaknesses in the worst way.  To keep your integrity and commitment in check make sure you have men and women pouring into you.  Make sure these people are holding you accountable professionally and personally, because in this field the two are closely related.
  • CONSTANTLY PRIORITIZE: If your misaligned your ministry will derail.  It’s important for a youth minister to know his or her priorities.  Remembering to put God first, family second, and career third will help you stay healthy in this field.  Longevity comes from knowing what’s important and how everything else follows.
  • DREAM BIG: It’s easy to get stuck in the day to day grind of ministry and to forget about the big vision God has placed on your heart.  To last in youth ministry you need to schedule time when you can just dream and be creative.  Maybe it’s over a cup of coffee or going for a run.  Take the time to think about what God is asking you to do in your church, and community.

Longevity should be the goal to anyone in youth ministry.  Consistency in a local church’s youth ministry will lead to a growing and thriving youth ministry.  Pray about it, share it with others and trust God to lead you.

What other tips would you give someone for longevity in youth ministry?

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