It’s about getting on the same page.
On the youth ministry side of things, we see too many youth workers are getting burned out by the demands of their church, and that’s by both stated and unstated demands. From a church’s perspective, there are too many youth workers quitting their jobs out of frustration or failing to meet expectations. What can be so hard about youth ministry anyway?
Both sides of the equation desperately want spiritually healthy youth ministers and youth ministries. Perhaps what we have had here is a failure to communicate.
We believe that healthier youth workers lead to healthier youth ministries. Healthier youth ministries result in healthier youth. The We Love Our Youth Worker (WLOYW) movement began in the UK in 2007 with this vision in mind. WLOYW has the goal of setting a national standard for churches and youth ministers so we can begin to be on the same page. There are 7 Promises churches make and the 7 Promises youth workers make as part of the WLOYW covenant.
When it comes to spiritual health, the place to start is with Prayer.
Promise One: We Will Pray and Spiritually Support
In congregations that commit to the We Love Our Youth Worker covenant, churches start with a commitment to prayer:
We believe that our youth worker needs spiritual support in his or her work with young people.
We promise to pray for our youth worker and make sure his or her spiritual life is getting the support it needs.
Youthworkers need advocates and prayer warriors to support their youth ministry. Who is praying for you? Is there a team of adults meeting regularly to pray for you and your ministry? Is someone checking on you and asking you about your spiritual health?
Youthworkers often report to a pastor who is also their boss. But who pastors the youth worker? Sometimes the relationship between pastor and youth worker is positive and supportive, but it isn’t always the case. So if you can’t talk to your pastor about your spiritual health, who is in your life that you can talk to? Do you have an accountability group? meet regularly with other youth workers to pray for each other?
In my own youth ministry, I have had tough times when I felt like I had no advocates. When I needed spiritual care, I felt isolated even though I worked in a church with several pastors. Youth ministry shouldn’t be that way. Even if you are in a spiritually healthy place right now, it may be time to proactively ask for people to team up in prayer for you and your ministry. Ask someone (perhaps someone not at your church) to commit to praying for you and checking on you for prayer needs. We don’t have to do this alone…let’s share our ideas to make this happen.
Where have you seen success in this area? Do you have a prayer team supporting you? How did that come about?
This is the first of a series on the promises made in the We Love Our Youth Worker covenant between youth workers and their churches. We encourage you to check out the website of our partner organization, http://weloveouryouthworker.us, and to share the information with your congregation.