The other day, I was discussing with a fairly new friend about my job. He was shocked (as many often are) that as a church staff member, I am at the church five or six days a week. This was not the first time I’ve been asked this question, so I know there are many people who think that way as well. So, here it is.
My schedule is different every week, so it’s hard to nail down a daily routine, but here are a few of the things I do. As a youth director, I am responsible for our small, but committed youth group. I keep track of the kids, mostly through social media sites and text messages to their phones. I also plan three Bible studies a week for the kids. Sometimes I use pre-written curriculum, but I prefer to write my own lessons. I prepare Sunday School as well as Wednesday lessons which are usually lighter in focus, while Sunday nights tend to be deeper. Right now we are going entirely through the book of Romans and having small group discussions about each section of text. I also have a bi-weekly column in the church newsletter. Another big part of the youth program is coordinating with parents about the scheduling of events. The last thing you want to do is plan an event or a meeting at a time when half the youth group is going to be gone on a band trip. I handle all of the registration, publicity, and paperwork for youth events, including, camps, retreats, ski trips, and mission trips. I’ve been gone as many as four weeks out of the year attending youth trips. If a big event is right upon us, I tend to be busier. I also coordinate the fund-raisers for a lot of the events we do. Unfortunately, ministry has expenses, and so raising some of our own money allows us to do more as a group. We also have a youth worship band. As the musicians have improved, we don’t practice as much as we once did, but I do spend time working with them. At one time I picked out all the new music that we learned, but as they have become more confident, they pick out most of the new music themselves.
As I mentioned earlier, our youth group is fairly small. So there are a lot of responsibilities at the church that end up in my lap. I provide tech support for all of our computers. I’m not that much of a techie, but any computer questions that arise come back to me. I also oversee all of the sound and video equipment, not just in the youth building, but in the Sanctuary and the rest of the church. If someone wants to use our facility and needs technical assistance with a/v stuff, I help them. Also, if there are things that need to go on the screens during Sunday services, I oversee that as well. Thankfully, I have a college student who comes in weekly to set up the Sunday services on the computer.
Another aspect of my ministry is the church website and social media. I update the church website several times a week. I add new stuff as we get more information about upcoming church events. Every two weeks, I add an updated prayer list, church calendar, and other information that also goes into our church newsletter. We also have a church Facebook page. We use the page for advertising events and generating discussion between our members. We also have a Twitter account, but it is just an automatic update from our church website. We don’t have many church members who use Twitter, but new people like to see that we have a presence there.
Another part of my job is attending meetings. These may be meetings for the youth ministry with parents, or meetings for other church ministries. I also serve on several boards/networks to help create quality youth events for our students. I serve on a board for a jr. high missions program called BIG HOUSE, and I am also involved with Student Ministries of Anderson County (SMAC), a network of local youth ministers. With SMAC, I am also in charge of notifying everyone about our upcoming meetings. As a group, we try to have three community-wide youth events a year.
While I enjoy networking with local youth pastors, I also like to get to know people who aren’t from this area. Leading an effective ministry can be challenging. I spend a lot of time getting to know people and finding out what sort of things are working in their ministries and what things are not. Likewise, they can learn from my victories and failures as well. Another aspect of this is studying. I try to read new books on a regular basis that has some benefit to ministry. I also read articles and blogs regarding trends in youth ministry and youth culture. I also enjoy going to youth ministry conventions to learn more about the teens I serve and how to better connect with them.
One of the greatest things recently is that I’ve been able to fill in for my pastor in the pulpit. In my Baptist days, I got to preach fairly often, but I don’t do that as much any more. So it’s nice any time I get the chance to do it. I also play and sing in our praise team for our contemporary service. While this is not a major time commitment, it does add to the Sunday chaos when there a lot of other things going on.
There are many more things I do around the church. Little things here and there that need to be done like when an elderly lady needs to get something heavy out of her car or when the women’s group asked me to lead the program at one of their meetings. Sometimes it’s quiet, and sometimes it’s gangbusters. Either way, I love this “profession”…I hate to even call it that. What does your ministry look like?