I have been serving in Youth Ministry for a while. I have not been around as long as some, but in 12 years you can see a lot happen. I have been noticing a trend lately I am going to call the “they don’t get me” syndrome. It’s a dangerous place to be as a Youth Pastor. I have been there, thankfully God grew me through it (I hope).
The “they don’t get me” syndrome can happen when a Youth Pastor decides that their church has no clue how important Youth Ministry is, and it is completely up to the Youth Pastor to make sure the whole church knows it. This is a problem. Or maybe it’s the Senior Pastor that once served in Youth Ministry and you take it upon yourself to share your vast knowledge of all things Youth Ministry (that you have acquired in your whole 3 months of experience) and just how much things have changed since 1971.
The “they don’t get me” syndrome in essence makes Youth Pastors look like rotten little brats. It makes us look like we are throwing a tantrum, just to make our voice heard in the mix of all the ministry activities in the church. It forms an “us against them” image to all parties involved. That is not healthy. It paints a picture of the church that is closer to the one found in 1 and 2 Corinthians than that we find in Acts 2-5.
So how do we fix it?
The “they don’t get me” syndrome fix starts in two places – Your spirit and your heart. Pray for God to show you what you should be doing with all the time you are spending thinking about how people in your church fail to understand the Youth Ministry. Find what that root of discontent is, and kill it. NOW!
Start to build bridges to the other ministries in the church. Understand that “those people” don’t have to understand all the details of Youth Ministry. They just need someone they can trust to do God’s work in the lives of students. It may be as simple as getting some quilters to make some cookies for small groups once in a while. Find ways to build relationships throughout the generations of your church(include yourself here as well). It will not be quick or easy, but the rewards will be eternal.