Last week, I was talking with one of our youth leaders, Kris, about having a heart for youth ministry. Kris was asking me what she should be doing more of now that she’s certain youth ministry is where God wants her. My very first answer? Pray. Pray all the time.
You see girls, youth ministry is an all-out fight to death between God and Satan. It is one of the most desperate battlefields in the war between God and the devil, and Satan will stop at nothing to win. The average length of time men and women last in youth ministry is 6-12 months. That’s how hard the battle is. After that, many youth pastors and leaders are so tired and discouraged that they either leave ministry completely or move on to another area of ministry.
Good youth leaders know the temptations and struggles that youth face every day. We determine to fight alongside you and for you through prayer, teaching and counseling. We work hard to show you love–God’s as well as our own. You are important and you are the future!
One thing I’ve learned about youth is that you’re great at encouraging others! So here are some ways you can encourage your youth leaders:
- Pray – The No. 1 way you can encourage your youth leaders is to ask how they’re doing and how you can pray for them! If you already pray for your youth leaders, tell them! It does us good to know that you’re standing with us in our fight.
- Volunteer – Youth ministry is hard work–there’s always something to set up or get ready. Ask your youth pastor if there’s anything you can do to help. Maybe you can set up chairs for youth group, help set up a game or just help make new people feel welcome. Even if they don’t have anything for you to do, I promise your youth pastor will appreciate your offer.
- Write a note or a card – Speaking as a youth pastor, I LOVE when students drop me a note just because. So write an encouraging message or find an uplifting Scripture for your youth leader. Leave it on their desk, on their car or even on their Facebook wall!
- Come prepared – This one’s huge! Come prepared to learn. As youth pastors, we spend a lot of time preparing the sermons and teachings you hear each week. It takes a lot of prayer, studying, reading and research to plan the things we teach and it makes us really excited when students come ready to learn what God wants us to teach you. Before you leave for your next youth group, grab your Bible, a notebook and a pen, then find a seat in the front row and soak up what God has put on your pastor’s heart for you! You will be a source of great joy and excitement for your youth pastor and for God!
- Show up on time – When we arrive late for things, people turn around to see us enter and it disrupts the flow of an event or service. Once interrupted, it can be hard to get students’ attention back into worship or teaching, so do your best to arrive on time!
- Sign up and pay early for events – This might seem like a strange thing, but when your youth leaders have to constantly remind you to sign up for things or have to chase you down because you haven’t paid for an event, it really makes us feel like the “bad guys.” We don’t want to nag you or bother you for money that you’ve already agreed to pay, so get those things done as early as possible!
- Speak well of them – This is an issue of respect and honor. If you have good youth leaders, let the way you talk about them reflect that. If you’ve ever sat and listened to youth pastors talk about their students, all you would hear is bragging. We brag about your growth, talent and humor; we brag about everything that makes you great! Please respect us enough to do the same.
What do you do to encourage your youth pastors and leaders?
First of all, then I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity (1 Timothy 2:1-2).