Ministry can be a lonely place. We are called to care for people in a unique way that many do not understand. This is often magnified for the student ministry worker. Not only are they seeking to care for the spiritual well-being of another, but they also have the task of providing that care to a different generation. All of that adds up to feeling lonely at times.
God created us for community, which means that student ministry workers need to be intentional to build relationships with those outside of the youth group. Youth pastors and volunteers can unintentionally cut themselves off from adults due to the nature of their ministry.
So where do we look for connections? Who do we turn to?
• Look in your church. There may be some that have served in ministry and understand the unique challenges you face. Recently, Jason Burns (a church member/teacher at Lincoln High and a college classmate), Joel Young (a local youth pastor/Lincoln High alumni) and I worked the booth at the Lincoln v Greenland game. We had a blast. These guys understand the challenges I face, which allows me to be myself.
• Look for local networks. Many communities have ministerial alliances that provide gatherings for pastors and ministers. Larger communities will have local networking opportunities for youth pastors. Reach out or even start one yourself. You can share common concerns and challenges you face as you seek to reach the community for Christ.
• Look to your association. In the Baptist Missionary Association, there are two immediate opportunities for connection.
One, you can join a Pastor’s Co-Hort from Healthy Church Solutions. You can contact Heidi Sorrells, Pastors Advocate for the BMAA, for more information about these online gatherings. She can be reached at heidi@BMAAM.com.
Two, you can connect with Student Ministry Matters through our social media group or join us at our annual retreat. You can contact me at info@StudentMinistryMatters.com for more information.
As you work with students, remember that God created you for community. Take time to decompress with others and you will be a better student ministry worker.