By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary
Here is how the job that many Youth ministers or pastors find themselves doing asks them to spend their time. Is this true for you?
Events planning (even if the event is a small group system), event recruitment, curriculum assessment, curriculum writing, marketing (finding goals and language to attract people to the programs) and then recruiting other adults as chaperones at the minimum, or ministry partners at best. Some training of those adults. You also get to spend time with kids at those events, or at their events, as well some time individually with kids especially kids who are in crisis. You also often get to meet with parents when their adolescent's life isn't going as they (the parent) had hoped. You may (depending on your calling and skill set) arrange some of these activities so that you get to do preaching or talks and teaching. You also get to spend time preparing for those.
Here is the job that many Children's Ministers find themselves doing. Is THIS true for you?
Some form of Sunday School planning (no matter how it is structured or what you call it), recruiting teachers/leaders, event recruitment, curriculum assessment, curriculum writing, marketing (finding goals and language to attract people to the program), training teachers/leaders, classroom management (varied based on on your structure, but you still do it.) planning and executing some additional fun events throughout the year, figuring out what to do with children who don't fit in the program for some reason. Then you get to do this all over again for a week of VBS in the summer. You may be arranging for annual faith milestones for the children and parents to experience together, and recruiting and marketing for that too. You may (depending on your calling and skill set) get to do weekly children's sermons or large group teaching. You also get to spend time preparing for those.
And your heart is calling for a real and living life of faith in Jesus Christ for children and youth. That's why you do Children's or Youth Ministry. But is it why you do all that is listed above?
Sometimes, as the saying goes, we can't see the forest for the trees. Those two paragraphs list many of the trees. We'd love to hear about the additional tasks that have been put on your plate. Tell us!
The Christian church in this country is experiencing great change. You see this first hand. The single great question for leaders to be asking in the midst of that is, "what am I doing?"
Nancy Going is a life-long youth minister, who loves Jesus, other people learning to love Jesus, her husband Art Going, and the two new families that are her kids and grandkids.
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