Ah, a new year. It’s a great time to reflect on the past and set goals for the future — especially for youth ministers. Y’all have a unique role in helping young people set and achieve their own goals — and their relationships with God.
Here are some good resolutions for youth ministers to consider. (And yes, feel free to start these literally any time. Who needs a new year to improve?!):
Focus on building relationships with young people.
As a youth minister, your primary task is to build relationships with the young people in your ministry. Why? Because building those relationships can help bring them closer to Jesus. You strive to love them the way Christ loves you.
So how do you put that into a resolution? Resolve to set aside regular time to connect with them one-on-one, whether that’s through phone calls, Zoom meetings, or in-person hangouts. This will not only help you better understand their needs and challenges, but it will also help you be more effective in ministering to them.
Ministry is demanding, and it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself so you can be at your best for others. Don’t forget: Jesus often stepped away from the crowds (and even the disciples) for a little bit so he could reconnect with God. Consider making a resolution to prioritize self-care in the coming year. This might mean setting aside time each day for rest and relaxation (aka GETTING SLEEP), exercising regularly, or finding ways to reduce stress.
Focus on intention rather than fun.
Youth ministry is all about creating meaningful experiences for young people, and a great way to do that is by planning intentional events and activities. Make a resolution to put thought and effort into planning events that will be meaningful and engaging for the young people in your ministry. This might mean hosting retreats, service projects, or fun outings.
Stay up to date on current events and issues that impact your group.
As a youth minister, it’s important to stay informed about the issues that are impacting the young people you serve. (Yes, this includes TikTok…) Set aside time each week to stay up to date on current events and issues beyond what your students talk about. Educate yourself about the challenges and opportunities your students face each day. These are likely things they might not feel comfortable bringing to you at first. That’s okay! By staying “hip to the news,” you can meet them where they are – bringing up tough subjects before they do.
Make time for personal and professional growth.
Personal and professional growth feels like a weird thing to ask of a youth minister. After all, it’s servant leadership, right? But investing in your own relationship with scripture is the heartbeat of good ministry. This might mean setting aside time to read and study, attending conferences or workshops, or seeking other opportunities to learn and grow.
Here’s to a productive and meaningful 2023!