Monday, August 24, 2009

5 Year Youth Ministry Contract: Church Members (4 of 5)

This is post #4 of the 5 Year Youth Ministry Contract. If you have not already read the first three posts, you'll want to read them before reading this one. Read the introduction first, followed by my thoughts on the youth minister difference and then my thoughts on the church leadership & staff difference.

In this post, we will look at the difference a five-year commitment would make for the church membership.

The Church Membership Difference

It can be difficult for church members to be quick to fully welcome a new youth minister on staff. When the church has a history of having multiple ministers with short stays, it becomes an automatic disadvantage for any new youth minister entering into ministry at this church. Most members assume the new youth minister will only stay long enough to find another ministry, like past youth ministers have done. I think a five year youth minister contract would offer many benefits for these members.

Knowing someone is going to be around for a few years allows you start the relationship with a little more trust than normal. Most members will not question the youth minister's motives or actions as often as they otherwise would. Being able to have this higher level of trust for the youth minister will allow the members to support and encourage the efforts and changes being made by the youth ministry team.

I believe the willingness to volunteer within the youth ministry would increase. From my experience, I have seen that some people are apprehensive to volunteer to work in an area where they do not know the leader well or where they feel the leadership might change often. This apprehension would be countered with the five year contract. Think about the difference it would make to have a stronger group of volunteers at the beginning of your ministry. Not only would the youth ministry benefit and grow, but the congregation gets a huge benefit: more members using their gifts and doing ministry.

Finally, I think this five year contract would give the members a sense of relief. Most members do not know what expectations/requirements are put on the youth minister by the church leadership. This contract would give them the reassurance that a certain level of ministry professionalism will be kept in the youth ministry. The members will still not completely understand what all is entailed in the youth ministry, but this will be a good start to help them understand that youth ministry is more than just glorified babysitting.

Are there negatives for the church members?

Since the youth minister will be around for a few years, there might be some members who will not work hard at getting to know him. The assumption might be that there is plenty of time to get to know the new youth minister, so why put effort into it now. Someone else might think that the only reason the youth minister spends time with the students is because its in the contract. And there might be someone who decides their help is not needed within the youth ministry, because the youth minister is going to be here for a few years.

What other differences do you think a five year commitment would make for the church members?
Do you think the church members would benefit from having a youth minister with a five year commitment to a local ministry?

Posts in this series:
1. The Introduction
2. The Youth Minister Difference
3. The Church Leadership/Staff Difference
4. The Church Membership Difference
5. The Students Difference

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