Youth ministry has changed in the last 15-20 years. For the most part, the days where the youthworkers mainly managed pizza parties and all night video game marathons are behind us. Instead we have youthworkers reaching out to overstimulated, overscheduled teens that are being bombarded with negative messages from society, messages like “you’re not ______ enough”.
It can be draining and isolating to dig in and try to help students walk through the minefield of adolescence. They need the support of their congregation to continue impacting the next generation for Christ.
You may ask ” what can I do?”. Plenty. Here are five ways that you can show appreciation and encouragement to your youthworkers:
1) Pray for them. I don’t mean wimpy, half hearted bedtime prayers. I mean banging down the door to the throne room, begging and pleading for God to protect them (and their families), to give them strength, and His supernatural wisdom. Daily.
2) Get together with a few other people and offer to watch the youthworkers children for an evening, so they can have a little time with their spouse. Do this consistently.
3) If they are considered a staff pastor, don’t ignore them during Pastor appreciation month. I’ve been there during my 15 years of youth ministry, and it is painful. There are many stories here that could be told by youthworkers all across the country…
4) Help your church leadership get involved with “We Love Our Youthworker“. It is a movement to help churches and youthworkers build supportive church systems. It’s designed to combat burnout, build healthy job descriptions and expectations for youthworkers.
5) Help your youthworkers get involved in a local network. Youthworkers that are part of a local network stay in ministry longer and at their local church longer. Your youthworkers need a group of people that understand the joys and pains of you ministry. As part of a local network, they can have a larger impact reaching students in the community than they would alone. To find the local network in your area, go to Youthworkers.Net
Your youthworkers need you. Don’t let them down.