Top 10 Ways to Turn Your Pastor into the Biggest Advocate of Student Ministry: The truth is that very few senior pastors are passionate about student ministry. If they were, they would be student ministry pastors. God has given them a heart and calling to shepherd the entire church, in which student ministry is only a part. If you want them to become a big fan and advocate for student ministry, then it begins with having them become big fan of you. Here are 10 practical ways to build heart strands with your pastor and helps them become a fan of you and student ministry.
7) Clean Your Office
It is a simple rule, if you want to be treated with respect, then you must act in a way that deserves it. And believe it or not, your office communicates very loudly what kind of respect you deserve. Most of us think of our offices as a holding tank, a storage closet, simply the place to get some details worked out, so you can actually get out there and do some ministry. Most of the people that we care most about in ministry will never see our office, but the most important people for our longevity in our context see our office every day. If you want your pastor to be your advocate and in turn an advocate for students, then show that you are a professional and aware of your context.
A Couple of No No's:
Don't get me wrong, the youth worker's office should be the most interesting office at the church, and as the youth worker you do have a ton of latitude. Use that latitude to express yourself. Hang up your Grey's Anatomy Calendar, Chuck Norris Poster, and signed baseball. This is all great, the problem is when we take this latitude too far. Here are some basic No No's for a youth worker's office.
NO PIZZA BOXES: I know it is cliché, but as recently as within this last year I visited a fellow youth worker and he had pizza boxes from the night before's bible study still piled up in his office. Food in general is a No No. Basically you have made your office into a glorified trash can, and in case you don't realize it, you have made your office and maybe the entire office smell like old food. No Bueno.
NO CLUTTER: It is so easy to have stacks of paper, supplies, books, magazines, pictures, and marshmallow guns scattered around your office. There is this strange sense of pride we have because it looks like we are busy. We are really saying that we are not organized and an eye sore. We have to find places to store these things, and throw junk away. I confess I am the worst offender. Notice the comments from your fellow staff when you clean up your office and it looks hospitable.
NO BILLS: Nothing gives your supervisor a heart attack more then to walk into your office space and see your receipts, bills, and invoices scattered around your already messy office. Even if you have a crazy system for keeping track of your money and receipts, don't share it with the world. Mishandling money is one of the fastest ways to get fired, don't give your pastor any reason to raise an eye brow at how you manage it.
This is Their House, and Your Office is Simply a Guest Room:
This might be a strange way to think about your office, and it truthfully isn't actually true. But the fact is that your pastor has a sense of ownership of the entire church, including the office space like it is their actual house, and your office space is within their sense of ownership. It is the same battle parents have with kids since the dawn of time. Kids want to keep their room anyway they want, and parents want kids to realize that their rooms are part of their house and should be kept clean.
When we treat our offices like guest rooms by keeping them clean and professional, then our pastors get to keep our relationships on the professional level. If your office is worst then the rooms of the students you work with, then your pastor intuitively begins to feel like a baby sitter and not a colleague. It may not be right, and they may not even own it, but this is a felt reality and therefore should be lived into.
Cleanliness = Respectability
When we have a clean youth room, clean office, clean youth van, clean clothes, we communicate that we are adults and worthy of respect. When you have respect you also gain the benefit of the doubt, and this comes in very handy. When you live in a way that gains respect from your colleagues and they don't feel like they need to baby sit you, you gain the freedom to do the ministry that God has called you to with freedom.
As you respect your office and place within the church staff, your pastor will grow in respect of you. And they respect you more and more, they naturally will become your advocate and advocate for the ministry that you lead. Who knew that throwing away pizza boxes could actually lead to raise :)