Power of Networking (in Ymin) 1 of 3
Networking and Youth Ministry
Too often Youth Workers and Youth Ministries (student ministries) are seen in the ‘Lone Wolf’ pack. Some leaders are concerned about their turf, losing students to another ministry, etc. These insecurities are sure to fester and crop up in other ministries as well! In many professions networking helps everyone do their job better and enables youth workers to execute their ministries on bigger and better levels. (Even big churches collaborate within themselves, youth staff have meetings to bolster ideas, etc.) It makes sense to look at some positives of Networking in Youth Ministry.
Youth Ministers that brainstorm together, come up with better ideas as a group than one just sitting alone in their office. Even if this is done online, you can come up with better ideas and more ideas than you can alone. Brainstorming helps keep you out of those ruts that pop up in your life and ministry that make your job BORING! Doing this in your local area helps contextualize your ministry and helps you from trying ideas that just wont work where you are. One great online resource for brainstorming is the forums at Pastor2Youth.com.
2) Resource Sharing
Very few youth ministries operate in opulence. That is you can get whatever you want, whenever you want it. If you are one, then SHARE THE WEALTH by networking with other churches. If you aren’t then when you network, you can find out how you can share and network resources with others in your group. Sharing supplies can help keep your budget down… By having a network, you can share those things that only get used a few times a year and get more bang for your buck.
3) Increased Knowledge Base
When you work on a team or in a network you gain intelligence! We all have different experiences, different training, different passions. By bringing your problems to a group that you trust, you can get feedback and training (read MENTORING) in areas that you might be week in. If you are that youth pastor whose administrative skills are as good as the Detroit Lions are in football, then you can get help from someone who does. If you are great at outreach, mentor the introvert who does not have a gameplan for that phase of his ministry. Either way, the more you network the more the whole team wins.
Let’s face it, going to your boss with every single problem you are dealing with can cause you to fear for your job. (sometimes its warranted… sometimes not). However, in a group of other youth pastors, you can, without fear of judgment talk about those areas of your life or ministry that you struggle with. If you need help, you can get it, if you need someone to get in your face, it can happen without you fearing that your openness about your weakness might get you terminated. Your network can help plug you in to those who can help you with what you are struggling with. (Certain things, should be brought to your Sr Pastor so he can advise also… it’s not an us VS them thing.. if it is… your network can help you navigate this too).
If you don’t know where to start with your mentoring try the National Network of Youth Ministries. Great People, Great Mission!!!