The Art of Having Fun
Youth ministry is tough and there are a lot of things that vie for your time. If you’re a full time pastor then you have camps to plan, events to organize, parents to call, emails to answer, students to hold accountable, lessons to plan, and meetings to attend. If you are a volunteer then you most likely have a job outside of the ministry that you volunteer in. To all of the volunteers I will first say THANK YOU! None of the youth ministries out there could function if it wasn’t for the help of you guys. However, while things may be busy and there are always more things to do, what your students want most is just to be there for them. Events are great and students love going to Winter Jam and watching bands play, but mostly they just want to have you around.
I want to encourage you to have fun with your students! Sometimes having fun seems like you are not doing your job but I would suggest that if you’re not having fun in youth ministry, then you’re doing something wrong. I know that there are tough situations and in my six months at my church, there have been plenty of problems with parents, students, and things that I look back on and say, “That wasn’t the smartest idea I’ve ever had.” However, having fun and enjoying your students and leaders is vital to your ministry!
My favorite part of my work week is on Sunday night after youth group. The lesson that took me days to plan and that was planned out months ahead of time is over, the game time is over, the worship is over, and there are about 15 minutes left before parents get there to pick up the students. This is the time when the students grab a snack and just get to spend some time hanging out and playing whatever they’d like in the gym while they wait on their parents. The reason this is my favorite part is because some of my students and I have begun a tradition of playing 21. I am by no means the best basketball player in the world but I love this part of the night. It has gotten to the point where at the beginning of the night students tell me their going to dominate me in good Christian love. The thing is, I love hanging out with my students. I love playing basketball and getting beat by students who are much better than me.
Not only that, I love having meals with my students because they can be rather entertaining. This past week a student asked me if I wanted to go get all you can eat wings (as if that’s a real question). My wife and I picked our students up, and off we went to eat wings in every flavor you can imagine (peanut butter was the one I looked most forward to and it did not disappoint). Yeah this may not seem like much, but this is the part of my job that I love! Now I am not saying you do all these things and neglect to plan camps, write talks, etc., but I am saying that there has to be a balance because fun is a major part of what we do!
I also want to talk about having fun with your leaders. You’re leaders are your greatest asset! Try to sit back and think about what your ministry would look like without your leaders. That is one scary picture! While you need to lead your leaders, you also need to have fun with your leaders! This past week, we had a Christmas party for our leaders. We laughed and joked about things in our ministry. We watched Dave Barnes’ Christmas Extravaganzas. We had a white elephant gift in which the winner of the best gift was Bod Man’s Sexiest Musks! I don’t know if Bod Man is popular anymore, but knowing that of our middle school leaders got it made it that much better!
I love the culture that we have with our leaders! Our leaders know that whatever they say is going to be heard. They also know that when we get together for a meeting we are going to get things accomplished, and we are also going to have fun. You leaders feel the frustration of you ministry just like you do, and they need to know that they are not alone and that your ministry is still moving forward in the midst of our frustrations. I love our leaders and I want them to know that. I look forward to our leaders meeting every month because we have created a culture where we have fun and we do work!
Not everything is going to be fun in ministry, but fun is part of the reason that we do the ministry that we do. If you have lost your joy in ministry then you’ve got to find it in the little things of ministry. Ministry is fun, never forget that!
Posted on December 12, 2011, in Leadership and tagged Christianity, Church, Church Ministry, Culture, Family Ministry, Fun, Pastor, Religion, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.