Youth Leadership, Youth Ministry

There Is No I In Network

Today has been declared National Youth Ministry Networking Day by Youth Specialties, which is ironic since I’m actively involved in two youth ministry networks and neither one of them are meeting this week.  But, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my thoughts on networking and youth ministry and why it’s the best commitment that you can make… 

Values.  Priorities.  Commitment.

I have learned that these three words (in that order) determine virtually every choice we make in life.

Basically, what you value determines your priorities which determines what you commit yourself to.

Think about it…

We live in a world where time is a commodity easily wasted, and we never have enough of it.  So, instead of filling our calendars with time-killers, we tend to plan our lives around the things that we value the most (good or bad).

Let me confess something to you…

When I started in full-time youth ministry 15 years ago, I thought being a part of a network was a time-killer.

I thought that I needed to spend that time working on youth ministry stuff.  You know, stuff like…

Writing the perfect “come-to-Jesus” talk

Planning the funnest, craziest, messiest game

Making sure the youth space had the right vibe for the night

Planning & promoting the next cool event…

It took me a year to realize that what I really valued was what I had to offer to the students in my ministry. 

So, I made it a priority to do everything I could do to be a “successful” youth pastor.

I was committed to the job.

And, I was alone.

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Fast-forward to the present, and I can tell you that if you want to be a “successful” youth pastor, then you need a network of youth pastors and leaders around you.

If you didn’t catch that, let me put it this way…

If you value your own health…

If you value longevity in ministry…

If you value the pursuit of God’s Kingdom on this earth…

If you value learning…

If you value encouragement…

If you value prayer…

If you value accountability…

If you value teamwork…

If you value community (and the community you serve)…

If you value any or all of these things, then you need to make it a priority to join a youth network and go regularly.

It will be the best commitment that you will ever make as a youth pastor or leader.

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