This morning I wrote a response to a blog on longevity in youth ministry. Here is what I said:
"I’ve been in youth ministry for 32 years and 28 at the same place. Growing up as pastor’s kid, moving every couple of years I never would have dreamed of being at the same church for this long. When people ask me about tips for making this work in their ministry I list them under the following categories:
REASONS UNDER MY CONTROL
*I am very intentionally, a youth PASTOR. While I love youth the most I want to be a pastor to all the people of the church. I spend time with senior citizens, children and every age in between. I do funerals, weddings, make hospital visits and seek to be a great team player on our our pastoral staff.
*I work hard to be teachable. Years ago while leading a regional convention I recruited some of the best youth pastors I could find to provide leadership. One was a long-term guy who proceeded to shoot down or minimize almost every idea we had. I have told several people “slap me around” if I ever act like I know it all.
*I searched far and wide for long-term youth pastors to be mentors. These people are not easy to find but I have found a few and let them speak into my life.
*After three decades of youth ministry I still like middle school and high school students.
*I keep my relationship with God first, my family second, my ministry third.
REASONS NOT UNDER MY CONTROL
*My senior pastor has been here for 36 years. One of our other associates has been here for 15 years. Long-term seems to be in the DNA of this church.
*This is a very healthy church. It is not perfect but is a place where communication is clear and encouragement abounds.
*This church loves youth ministry. They brought me here to begin a youth ministry. How often does that happen?"