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 a 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.
1) Do a Good Job: It is kind of going all the way back to the beginning. Remember, this series of posts is about how to make your pastor a huge fan of student ministry. At the end of the day, the way in which you make them a huge fan of student ministry is by making them a huge fan of you. And the best, #1 way you can do this, is simply by doing a good job.
When you work hard and do a good job, your pastor's heart towards you will grow. By excelling in what you have been hired to do, you will find that your pastor will; believe in you, trust you, and will want you to succeed even more. By wanting you to succeed, they will want your ministry to succeed.
But here is the rub: How do you determine what counts as doing a good job? We all know that we are the best and are doing a great job. I have never in my entire life met a fellow youth worker who thought they were a slacker and sitting around cashing paychecks as they eat all the pizza they could ever dream of. No, we all think we are the hardest working people on the planet. While this may be true in our heads, the fact is there are plenty of youth workers I have known who have gotten canned for doing a horrible job. And most of the time, when I hear the stories, I agree, they should have been fired.
The issue is not about working hard and doing a good job, the key is figuring out how you are graded and do that. You may have built the most amazing weather station showing the changing rainfall levels throughout the year for a science fair. But since you didn't realize it was a physics science fair, all the time and effort that went into this project turned out to count for nothing. This is the same with student ministry. You must find out what you are actually being graded on, and do that first.
Every pastor, whether they realize it or not, has a rubric in which you are graded. Sometimes it is stated very clearly. But I have found that usually, it is hidden. No matter the health of your pastor or how well they communicate, it is VITAL that you figure it out.
Here are some rubrics I have encountered:
- Numerical Growth
- Spiritual Growth
- Attendance in Big Church
- Being Safe
- Simply not wanting to deal with upset parents
- Teaching Tradition
- A certain mission trip or camp
- Dressing nicely for church, or even around the office
- Being in the office
- Not being in the office
It is of utmost importance to figure this out. Because if you don't you will be out of a job. While you may seem to have a sob story about why you got fired, the truth is that you simply did not do the job you hired to do. I know it is unfair that you may actually get fired for an unspoken expectation, but it is how it works sometimes. Find out what you are graded on and do that well!
Once you have done what you are being graded on well, you will then have the latitude to do the specific things that are unique to you, your personality, and your calling. If you fail to get a passing grade first, you will never be able to do the second.
My hope and prayer for you as a youth worker is to fully live into the unique ambassador of Christ that God has called you to be. You have so much to bring, so many talents, such passion, and such a huge heart. Don't let your passion and idealism blind you to the awful truth that youth ministry within a church is also a job. Do your job well, and then be free to live out your calling.
If that can't happen in your particular church context, then start looking for another job. You will never change the DNA of your church until you find the church that matches your DNA, be faithful in the small things, and God seems to always open up doors down the road. (see Joseph)