In youth ministry, there are always projects. Projects like events, activities organizing, staff meetings, leadership, curriculum, and others. Then there are project kids and parents. So yeah, projects are everywhere. But I think there are some projects that are far more important than others. Here is a list of what I think are the MOST important “projects” and in what order.
- Your own soul: So often we ignore our own soul, relegating it to a “when I have time” status. This is a project that should not be ignored, it should be a primary concern. Time spent in the Word, in prayer, personal worship and growth is never a waste of time. It will never be less important. It is the number one project you should concern yourself with. But it isn’t the end-all. Imagine a world in which everyone stood silent, staring into their own soul all day. Nothing else would be accomplished. So look at this primarily as a “soul care”. It is like a continual waiting at the cross, maintenance of your soul and a daily dependent care of your relationship with Jesus.
- Your marriage, then family: In this exact order. When we focus on kids before marriage- bad things can happen. If you are properly caring for your soul, that is depending on Jesus, then you are also caring for your spouse. Marriage is God’s best idea for us, in fact he refers to the Church as His bride and the author of Hebrews tells us to “honor the marriage bed”. So Your marriage is of critical importance- care for it and treat it as a valuable project in need of constant care and creativity. Your kids are also in this boat and require great attention and focus. They are your greatest treasures and deserve as much attention and love as you are able and willing to give. Spend time in prayer for your family and as God to teach you to be the loving, creative, and involved father or mother that he wants you to be. Invest time in this project.
- Church life: More than the youth ministry we are called to serve in, church life is a project that you ought to be devoting time to. Not only for your friendships and relationships within the church (which will increase your effectiveness in the lives of your teens and elongate your time as the youth pastor) but also for the health of your family, marriage, and soul. Relationships with people in the church are very important, take time to develop them and grow in them.
- Pastor: Your pastor is a project. You must be working together and in sync with the move of God. Spend time in prayer at lunch and in strategy sessions. These will increase your effectiveness in the Kingdom of God and you will encourage one another to love and good deeds.
- Teens: Working IN the youth ministry is more important than working on it. Spend time each week mentoring several teens and helping them to grow in their faith. Not only will you set an example for other adult leaders, but you will demonstrate that you care for the individual lives of the kids in your “program”. Like they say, “they don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
- Adult volunteers: Developing your adult staff is also VERY important. Releasing others into ministry and helping them to grow into the men and women that God has called them to be in reaching teens is part of your job- work hard to provide resources, tips, and spend quality time with each leader. They will in turn spend time with teens and will multiply the ministry rather than simply add to it. You will see great increase in leadership and effectiveness if you have a strong adult volunteer core.
- Events, activities, programs, and details: These parts of the ministry are also very important. We must devote time to these parts of the ministry and we must properly plan for events and activities. If we do not, then our events will suck and kids won’t come. If you are spending time with the Lord and developing your soul and leading your adult volunteers, then creativity and help will not be a problem. You will be full of energy and will have a ton of creative ideas. Take time each week to brainstorm through the events and make them as good as you can!
This is my list- do you have one? What would you change from this list of priorities in youth ministry?