When asking youth minister search teams what’s important when hiring a new youth minister, among other things, it seems that “we want someone who can come to the youth football games, school plays and hang out at school events with them” tends to be among one of the most requested desires.
I agree. I have spent many, many weekends and evenings over my 20 years in ministry (volunteer and paid) at baseball games, school musicals and even my first ever power-lifting meet. This is important. Youth and children love seeing their youth/children’s leader support them “in their element.”
However, in the back of my mind, I have always thought that this desire is also pretty ridiculous. I have served several small churches and one that was pretty large. In both settings, regardless of church size and attendance, asking one person to attend all of these activities…[translated: asking one person to develop meaningful relationships with children and youth] is good, but not great.
Why not get your entire church involved? Wouldn’t it be better if MANY caring adults chose to support the children and youth of your congregation instead of just expecting the one paid-staff person to do it all? Wouldn’t, in the long run, this be more meaningful to the young people?
Yes, yes it would.
So, here’s what to do:
- Ask the children and youth families in your church to give you their kids’ schedules and dates for sports, fine arts, scouts, etc.
- Create a free google calendar or other easily accessible online calendar and add all of the dates (or find a lovely volunteer to take on this project if minuscule details is not your forte!)
- Print the schedules, too, and create a bulletin board in a high traffic area of the church. While the online calendar will be the primary way for the church to find out what’s going on, the bulletin board will be a visual reminder every time people are in the building that THIS is important!
- Encourage the church to attend, send a link to the calendar in your weekly emails to the church, link it to your website, generate excitement by posting on social media when YOU are attending games.
- Breathe and realize that it is OKAY if YOU as “the” leader cannot attend every child and youth’s events, but rest in knowing that SOMEONE in the church CAN.