A few days ago I talked about the importance of building a youth ministry ‘fan base’. The premise is this: All of us in youth ministry will get through the honeymoon of ministry when those around us realize that we are not one of the Apostles (or even better, Jesus). Give us a year and we realize there are people in church who have concluded that our ministry is heading in the wrong direction. Or, you and I have made some mistakes that are very apparent and we have to make good of them. It’s at these times when we need gracious people who know us and our hearts. It’s in these times we need youth ministry fans…
So, how do you and I allow people at our churches to have a better perspective of our ministry and ultimately each of us as individuals? How do we ‘allow’ people to be more gracious with us, more than they were with the previous youth worker? It helps to be building a youth ministry fan base (See previous post, ‘How to Build a Youth Ministry Fan Base’)
First, I want to be clear that our goal should not to focus on trying to manipulate or become everyone ‘fake best friend’. What I am talking about is realizing that there are some healthy things we can do to supplement what we are trying to implement. Implementing our ideas without the supplement of ‘fan base building’ will become a detriment.
Here’s some further ideas:
1) Serve People in your Church. An effective way to build bridges and promote your wonderful students in your ministry is to be intentional about planning some service type events that bless people in your church. We try to do ‘Serve Team’ projects once a month which are aimed at blessing our community by showing God’s love in practical ways. At the same time, we try to find a few people in our church we can help or visit during that event. You will be surprized at how much the youth ministry will be promoted positively by those people inside and outside your church. Example: Before Christmas, we took our middle school kids Christmas carolling. We were inentional about going to some families at our church who needed the ‘blessing’ of middle school kids singing to them. I heard a lot of favorable comments from a number of people.
2) Look out for your Pastor. As youthworkers it is imperative that we ‘lead up’ by always having the back of our lead pastor and other ministry staff. When we are team players who cover our team and supports them, we will see the same support extended to us. Note: I have seen and been apart of teams where everyone is for themselves. It’s tempting to fall into the mold too… In these cases you will build trust with insecure team members and you might just change the environment. Whether or not we do see fruit from this… We must do it since it is the best and right thing to do.
3) Do jobs Outside of your Job Description from time to time. Again, so many larger churches, (and smaller ones too) can easily live in silos where we only care for our own area. I am learning that building a fan base, (as well as good friends in ministry), happens when I agree to do jobs or tasks that are outside of job description from time to time. Things like, helping out the kids ministry with a message, or helping to update the website for your church, or preaching once in a while to give your pastor a week off (I currently preach every 6-8 weeks). Or even things like ‘talking up’ other ministries and helping them recruit volunteers. Note: Be careful not to become the doormat who gets asked to do EVERYTHING, but, make sure you don’t live in a silo either!
Finally, and most importantly, be a God pleaser above all else…
Building a youth ministry fan base is important, but it can go very wrong if we do not start with pleasing God first. We might become people pleasers who stretch ourselves too far by being the doormat of church ministry. Make sure that you are sensible with your time and bridge building.
Any other ideas for building a youth ministry fan base?