If you are reading this, it does not mean that you are in trouble; nor does it mean the youth pastor who sent you this to you is upset with you. This is a list of things on their heart that they may just want to reiterate; or perhaps they have never talked over any of this with you.
I am sure that you are the perfect volunteer and that you follow everything I am about to share with you. If this is true, then just smile and send a quick text to your youth pastor and tell them that they are awesome for reminding you.
However, we all fall short of the glory of God and do occasionally mess up. So, let this be a point of reference, a reminder of what we should be doing as we take on the great task of serving students every week.
- Listen to us in meetings. We are not holding leader meetings because we are trying to waste your time. We are doing it for your benefit and because we care about the students we have collectively been entrusted with.
- Support us in front of students. Don’t let students make fun of or belittle us in front of you. Even if you may agree with the student, defend us; later, bring us any concerns that you may have.
- We do care about your ideas and thoughts, so share them with us! But don’t try to do things on your own to undermine us.
- Communicate. We may not be the greatest at communicating either, but please communicate with us anyway. If you are going to be late, text us. If you are going to miss something, email us in advance. Give us a call.
- Commit. Please don’t be fickle. We care about our students, so your lack of commitment tells them that you don’t care about them. If you decide to be a volunteer in the ministry, mark it on your calendar. Students will appreciate your consistence.
- If you are worn-out, let us know so we can give you a break. The last thing we want is a bitter, worn-out volunteer. We will not only pray for you, but still be there for you as you take a break from the ministry.
- Get fed. Don’t serve in the ministry and not seek to serve your personal walk. If you feel stagnant in your walk, let us know. We are as much your pastor as we are the students’ pastor. Let us get you books or suggest audio sermons. If you have questions, ask us. Many of us went to Bible college or have seminary degrees and can hold deep conversations of faith with adults.
- If you are struggling with sin, please tell us. We are a pastor. We know how to keep things confidential. We all sin; we as pastors know this for sure. Let us help you get to repentance and freedom.
- Help us promote the ministry. If you see us post something online regarding the ministry, share it. Retweet it. Take a screen shot and post it on your Instagram. Kids are following you online as much as they are following us. Your help with promoting an event or helping remind students to get their deposits in means a lot to us.
- Tell us how our message was. We rarely get feedback on our messages from the students. Occasionally our spouses will mention something, but they can be the most critical. (No offense Cori. ☺) It is important to us to hear feedback from our volunteers. Let us know if one of our points went over the students’ heads, or if I talked too fast, or if you thought that maybe one of my jokes was awkward. That is fine. We need to know because most of the time, I am the only one evaluating myself…and I am very generous.
- Don’t use your phones during the message. If you have your Bible app open, then cool. But don’t check your email or text anyone during the message. We don’t want students to do it, so please be an example.
- Be with the students. Please don’t just stand in a huddle and talk to each other like 5th year seniors. Interact with the students, and seek out students who are alone. We are here to serve them.
- Take the gender differences seriously. We are looking out for your safety and the students. If you are a guy, don’t be alone with a female student. And if you are a lady, don’t be alone with a male student. Just trust me on this. It is for your safety.
- Read our emails and texts. Please. Respond to our emails and texts.
- If you are a parent, don’t come to the ministry to spy on your kids. Come to serve the entire ministry. Your kids will be cooler with you there if you are not hovering over them.
- If you are in college, let us know your schedule. We know you have midterms and finals and we want to respect that. We may even buy your Starbucks to help you study.
- If you are in Bible College, learn that nothing is greater than actual ministry experience. You may have the Westminster Confessions fresh in your head from a paper you just wrote, but being face-to-face with students in real life is worth more than any paper you have to write.
- Don’t forsake Sunday morning worship in “Big Church.”
- Spend time with your family.
- Have fun. Enjoy the fact that you can play video games with 16-year-old students and no one can judge you for that.
There may be more that I forgot to mention. You can read the comments. I am sure other youth pastors can help fill in what may have slipped my mind. We love you guys. Seriously! We appreciate what you are doing. This ministry can only go as far as you help us in it.
Every Youth Pastor Everywhere