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.
6) Love Their Kids:
Most youth workers get into this profession because they have a huge heart for students. With all of our heart, we want the lost to be found, the rejected to find community, and the broken healed. We are thankful for the critical mass of church kids, but our eyes and heart seem to always look to the horizon of where the lost and discarded students live. Sometimes in our effort to run after the one lost sheep, we burn bridges with the 99, especially their parents. And of all the parents who we can not afford to burn bridges with is with our pastor's kids.
If you want your pastor to be your biggest advocate and to advocate for your ministry then it is of utmost importance that you do everything in your power to win them over. Here are a couple of reasons we can not blow off these kids, even though everything in us wants to.
They Are Your Weekly Job Evaluation: I know that many of us get an annual review of our job performance. We have job descriptions, measurable goals, etc, that are the foundation of our evaluations. But I have found that this is simply a formality. The real job evaluation happens every week when their kids come home from youth group.
Week in and week out they hear about you and your ministry. And the worst part is that they don't express your heart, your vision, or your plan. They simply regurgitate the bare bones of what you teach, which always misses your extreme passion and brilliance. They are the quickest to complain that it is boring and that their friends hated it. And the worst part is, more than any parent, the pastor wants to know all of the details. They listen and try to read through the lines. And if every week they hear the consistent drip of how sub-par your ministry is and how they don't really want to go, your brilliant plan and communication skills to the rest of the church, WILL NOT MATTER.
Win Them First:
We all make lists of the students we are going to spend time with. We have to determine who we meet with, how often, in what context, and for what purpose. Most of us naturally connect with a specific type of kid, they are the ones we naturally want to spend all our time with. And because many of us have a heart for outreach and students who aren't connected yet, these students often are the ones furthest from the church. This has to be tweaked. Even though the child of the pastor should be the most connected and make us the most uncomfortable, they must go to the top of the list.
The pastor's kid is the first kids to win over. They are the first kid to watch play sports, or perform in a play, or play in a concert. They are the first ones to take out to lunch. Whatever they are in to, become an expert and do that with them. Our entire job is about winning students over, and for better or worse, the pastor's kid is the first one we must win.
It May Not Be Fair or Right, But It Is Reality:
Every week our pastors get an unofficial evaluation from their kid. If their kids don't like us and don't connect then intuitively we are set apart from our pastor. If they love us, then we have built significant ties and trust and appreciation between the pastor and you.
The truth is that you are a professional youth worker, you were born to connect with any and every student out there. Make their kid your personal project. You have a ton of tricks up your sleeve and you gladly use them for every kid out there, now focus those amazing gifts on the kid that intimates you and holds your future success at this church in your hands.
Love them, woo them, give them extra time and their voice extra weight. Ask them about their lives and what it is like being a pastor's kid. Being the kid of the pastor is a tough job, walk with them in this, give them space to express their love and hate of the church, their love and hate of Jesus, and even their love and hate of you.
Pastors kids are some of the most important kids in your ministry. On one hand, they are important because they can single-handedly sink your ministry. But they are also the most important possession and priority of the pastor. When their kids thrive, they thrive and are free to lead your church the way God has put on their heart to go. When their kids spiral and are visibly losing connection with the church and with their faith, they spiral.
Part of your job on staff is to be a support to your pastor and help them succeed. And the biggest felt need they have is, first and foremost, wanting their kids to be cared for. When you do that well, your pastor will be compelled to be thankful for you and the ministry you provide for his kids and the kids of the community. And these strands of goodwill will give you the freedom to be in a solid relationship with the pastor, and freedom to do the type of ministry that God has put on your heart.
If you want your pastor to love you and respect your ministry, it begins with you pouring your guts into their kids.