Continuing my tips for Bivocational/volunteer youth pastors. These will deal. More with the actual operation of your youth ministry. The last post dealt more with you and your heart. So let's go!
6: Relational Youth Ministry
I'm going to guess if you are Bivocational or volunteer that you are in a smaller setting. The one thing that is great about this is the fact that it lends itself naturally to relational youth ministry. If there is one thing that I got right I my first years of youth ministry it is this. Know your students, names are great but that's easy! Know their birthdays, what sports they play, show up to the games, and send them hand written words of encouragement. These small things go a long way to impact students.
7: Know your setting.
Being from the Bible Belt and being Southern Baptist that usually means the church's I'm at are very traditional. So some things are taboo and some subjects untouchable, now I tend to be one who pushes the envelope sometimes but I'm aware of how far I can go before it's a problem. But learn your environment! Is your church traditional or a little more contemporary? Are there areas of the church that are off limits to the youth? Are there subjects like sex that are taboo and not to be talked about? Learn about your churches culture.
One thing that can help you is networking. There are a ton of tools out there for this. Check around with other youth pastors in your area, there maybe networks already in place. Youth Specialties has a great network app as well. The point is find a mentor or an accountability partner that understands the demands of youth ministry. Someone who you can unload on and that can encourage you. Someone who's been there and can help. I don't know to many youth ministers who would turn you down.
9: Build a team!
You cannot do youth ministry alone! Let me repeat this...you CANNOT do youth ministry alone! Even if you are the volunteer get some help. Even if its just someone in your church who can pray for you. I had a gentleman who was loved by my students who I asked to help out. He said, "Ahh I'm too old." I said, "Can you say, 'Hello welcome to Revolution?'"He said, "Well yeah." "Your hired!" Even if its greeting the students who come in, making them feel wanted and welcome. There are all kinds of jobs a volunteer can do to lighten your load. You CANNOT do this alone!
10: Use pre made curriculum/resources.
I'm a proponent of making your own curriculum, it will obviously be tailored specifically to your group. HOWEVER, there are great prefabricated curriculums and resources out there. This would free you up to spend more time on the stuff that matters, relational youth ministry. Not everyone is gifted in the curriculum writing department, so let someone who is write it for you. Along this line too, here's a freebie. Get ideas from other youth ministers. Some of my best sermon ideas..swiped from somewhere else, redone, made my own, and used in my setting.
Hope these tips help you out along your youth ministry. And remember...
Just Keep Swimming!