Youth Workers, We Were Not Designed to Do This Alone | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
September 2018

Youth Workers, We Were Not Designed to Do This Alone

By Lee Barnes

I have to admit it. I am a spoiled youth worker for many reasons, but the biggest one is I live in an area that is densely populated with active youth ministries and youth workers. For the last ten-plus years I have met monthly with a group of youth workers that have prayed for me and encouraged me in life and ministry. The main group we are a part of was started back around 1992. It has had an ebb and flow members move through it since, but I think there are many reasons that make this group one that has stood the test of time:

In our group there is a healthy respect for youth ministry veterans and a healthy respect for youth ministry rookies. We understand that we must learn from each other. Some of our most “wellseasoned” members are volunteers that have served under many youth workers at churches for upwards of 15 years.

Another great aspect to our group is the idea swapping that goes on. We have annual meetings about discipleship/self-care, games (A Highlight!) to Medical/Release/Covenant forms to “How to exactly work Google Forms…” and we all walk away with new ideas of what to do…..and what not to do sometimes. During these times of sharing I am amazed what aspects of ministry have stood the test of time and the trends that have not. The youth workers and volunteers new to our group breath new life in our group as they share new ideas and concepts while the veterans bring constant concepts that have been engaging youth for years.

The BEST aspect of our group is the “life to life sharing” that has grown naturally out of the group. The times when we set the meeting agenda aside and “do life” with each other. As with a great youth ministry we celebrate holidays, marriages, births, loss of jobs, and the finding of new jobs all together. The ups and downs of ministry life are kindled upon as we gather together.

As you start new things for this upcoming new season of ministry, do something for you. If you are not a part of a group, forming a group is easy. Just reach out to the youth workers in your town/area and offer your church as a place to meet up. (When we meet up the majority of us Brown-Bag it) Pick a topic. Let the sharing begin. You never know what your group will grow into.

Rev. R. Lee Barnes is the Youth & Family Ministries Consultant for the North Carolina Conference of the UMC. He offers 20+ years of experience as a pastor, youth/family minister, and parent to provide consultation, training, networking experiences, and spiritual nurture for enrichment of your church’s youth and family ministries. Lee partners with clergy and lay volunteers in small and medium-sized congregations, and in new-faith communities.