The to-do list for the Youth Valentine’s Dinner and Auction event I inherited was extremely detailed and even divided into subcategories – things to do for the meal itself, for promoting the event, for decorating, for soliciting donations, for organizing the youth, for ticket sales, for setting up and for cleaning up…you get the idea. In fact, when printed out, the to-do list was over two pages long and covered 6 months’ of tasks. It was easily a list of things that could be delegated out to dozens of people. However, this particular event was a great opportunity to showcase the youth ministry and to raise money for youth missions – both great things we really wanted to happen!
So, with a vision of the perfect event in our heads, the other youth ministry staff person and I proceeded to get things crossed off the list one by one…
Did the event get done? Yes. Was it a successful event? By all accounts, yes. Did people appreciate our hard work? Sure. Was it done in a healthy way? Absolutely not.
The fundraiser was just an example. Like most of the youth ministry events, the staff usually took care of making sure all the details were done. Hours of planning, setting up, excellent execution and leadership, all professionally promoted and accomplished. The staff often took care of making sure everything was cleaned up afterwards, too. Sound familiar? We knew we were blessed to be in a situation with more than one youth staff person – usually it’s just the lone youth worker in this role.
However, as youthworkers, we felt stressed, overworked, under appreciated.
Then we found out what we were doing wrong – we were doing everything ourselves instead of asking for help. What we should have been doing instead was calling on the parents and members of the church to step up and take care of things with us.
We believe that having a youth worker does not release the rest of the church from our responsibilities towards young people.
We promise to encourage everyone to play a part in volunteering, praying for or supporting young people.
Do you see that, youth workers? It is not your job to do all of the care and ministry to the young people in your church. The entire church family should step up and take care of the young people together. Whether it’s volunteering to serve food, drive, lead a Bible study or pray for the youth, it is the church’s job as a whole.
The youth worker promises in return – We will ask for help and share the youth ministry with others.
We promise to communicate what is happening, what we are doing and where others can get involved in the life of students.
The concept is simple enough – churches need to help out youth workers and youth workers need to let other people help. If I’m really honest, I enjoy getting to plan and lead youth ministry events a little too much. It feels like it is easier to get things done myself than to bother others for help. Plus, I liked having control over how things turned out. I was the paid youth worker after all, so it felt like it was my job to get things done…
In reality, it’s not the youth worker’s job to get all the youth ministry done. It should be the entire church family investing in the youth of the church. I admit that I have trouble asking people for help. As a youth worker, your job description should include asking for help, recruiting volunteers, letting others do youth ministry too.
If we do everything ourselves, we not only get worn out, but we also are just being selfish. After all, we all know as youth workers that our youth are amazing – now it’s time for the rest of the church to find that out by providing opportunities for everyone to get involved in the to-do lists of ministry, too.
The YouthWorker Movement is proud to be a partner with We Love our Youth Worker. If you are interested in learning more about the our partners in ministry, check out their website. WLOYW will be accepting applications for churches on March 1st.
What are your thoughts?
Have you had success/failures on sharing responsibility and asking for help?
What have you done to successfully engage your church family in youth ministry?
What is one task on your to do list now that you can delegate to a church member? Do it now.