Whatever your version of church government, you must have something like a PCC or a group of elders who lead the church.
I wonder what they talk about? When it comes to youth and children issues, is the conversation restricted to key appointments and finance?
Sadly, that can often be the case, so my plea would be that youth and children should be a regular item on the agenda in the church government meeting. I suspect there are different groups being led by people throughout the age ranges. A simple report (preferably with a one-page handout) gives the leadership a chance to hear about the various groups and how they are progressing. It is to be hoped that such reports are given in a spirit of support so that the leader can convey the good things but also the pressures of the group in question.
Feedback to the church
Most churches have some kind of annual meeting. Church accounts must be well kept and accurately presented, but one would hope that the whole church would also hear a report from the under-19s work and the leaders thanked for their faithful service. I did once attend a particular deanery meeting where a three-hour meeting allowed two guest speakers less than ten minutes at the end to squeeze in their excellent presentation on effective youth ministry.
If bulletins are produced for the Sunday service or a monthly magazine, both should include regular updates about what is happening with youth and children. Those leading prayers in church need to be encouraged to pray for the children and youth and their events. I would also encourage both leaders and young people to visit, where possible, events being held for more senior citizens like women’s meeting or men’s breakfasts.
Where’s the support?
A common gripe heard from the lips of youth ministers is that the church is not very supportive. I believe we should keep a constant flow of information going in the direction of church members without divulging personal and confidential information. Ask church members for their help. I get very tired of youth ministers telling me how snowed under they are when they have to send out mailings. How many retired people would relish the opportunity of serving the youth group in supporting roles like admin or maintenance? Because you are a youth leader (paid or unpaid), you don’t have to do everything — give others in the church a chance to support you.
In many ways the church is a unique form of community covering all ages. But that breadth is often not valued or exploited. Give others a chance to assist — if you are in a large church with several staff, every member ministry is still a key principle. But tell them what’s happening and what your needs are. There may be someone sitting in your pews who has the gift, experience and time and would love to help. You are not called to do everything. You are called to be an effective delegating leader who brings the many gifts in your church into useful service.
Dave Fenton – associate minister at Christ Church Winchester and Training Director of Root 66 which runs training courses for youth ministers across the UK.
This article was first published in the June 2013 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to EN or contact us for more information.
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