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.
3) Document Everything: You have to admit that youth workers have really strange jobs. One of the hardest things about our job is to quantify what we do. We work in relationship first, program second, and quantified results, well never. Because of this, there isn't really a right or wrong way to do our job. Everyone does this job differently and takes different amounts of time to accomplish different tasks. But these realities cannot be cause to overlook the fact that we are paid by the church and as an employee, we are going to be held accountable for what we are doing with our time.
The truth is that most youth workers I know work incredibly hard and way more than the hours they are paid for. But for whatever reason somewhere along the way, we get in trouble because our pastor has no idea what we are doing. An easy solution that both covers our own butts, as well as shows our pastor that we are in the trenches working hard together, is to document everything!
What do you do with your hours? You are paid for a certain number of hours, so figure out how you spend your time. For a season document how you spend your time. When you are in the office, what are you doing? Write it down and share it with your pastor. It is also a good gut chuck for you to spend less time on facebook and reading blogs :) Who do you spend time with? Why do you spend time with them? What do you do when you are together. When you are not in the office where are you? Why are you there? Your pastor or at least your secretary need to know this. Even though you can technically work from home, make sure to get some office time it. Read more about that here. And at the end of the week and month, write up a summary to give to your pastor or the board. And if they don't ask for it, have it anyway so at any point you have documentation of what you have been doing.
- Have a calendar, and use it! I am sure you have great ideas for your student ministry and amazing events up your sleeve. You can win over your pastor and parents if you simply share these great ideas and the purpose of them. For whatever reason, it is just the silly and crazy events that people hear about or get us into trouble. When our pastor knows how all of our events fit together in a comprehensive strategy, you will be speaking their love language. I strongly encourage you to be calendaring your events a year out. If you are in your first couple of years doing this gig, then at least 3 months out. Read more about that here.
- How are you growing? You are / should be growing spiritually. You should be reading scripture, books, blogs, magazines, etc. It is encouraging and helpful for your pastor to know that you are continually working out your stuff. Make sure you share with them what you have been reading and how it is impacting you. You are growing spiritually, professionally, personally. When you run out of things to read, ask them for some ideas. Another great strand.
- THE BIG NO NO! Documenting everything helps your pastor know what you are doing and is encouraged by the ways you are spending your time partnering with them as you care about the church and the community. It gives them ammo when people question what you are doing. But none of the mountains of goodwill you have earned will count if you don't document the most important thing, MONEY! Document how you spend it, why you spend it, what comes in and what goes out. Turn in your receipts promptly and accurately. And whatever you do, DO NOT GO OVER BUDGET!! If you want to be a short-timer, be lackadaisical regarding finances. This is the number one quantitative issue that will sink you about as fast as making out with a high schooler.
Your pastor wants to trust you and partner with you as your care for the church and the community. Give them all the reasons in the world to be encouraged by the hard work you are doing. Give them all the answers to the questions parents and leaders may have about you and your ministry, and take away all reasons for them to be wary of you. Take the extra time to document everything and be ready for an answer to whatever questions come your way!