by Jacob Fasig
One of the most important core values in youth ministry is about expectations. In fact the youth ministry in which you serve will only be as deep, as committed, and as faithful as your expectations. If your expectations are only that people show up, that’s as far as they will go. If you don’t expect youth to bring their Bible, they never will. The same goes for volunteers.
I had a crazy idea once—okay, maybe more than once, but this particular idea came only once. I had the crazy thought that if I had volunteers who were teaching, leading, and pouring their lives into the lives of youth, they better have some expectations placed on them by the church. Not in a way that tells them what they should or should not do, but in a way that says, as Christians, we are to model their faith and stay connected to God. If you are going to be in the lives of youth, you must stay grounded, and here are some ways that will help and are basic steps that we expect of you as spiritual mentors to youth.
Expectations are not “must dos for Christians,” or “the only way to live out your faith,” they are minimal things that we require if you are to work with our youth. Everyone does it! If you are a leader, youth, or adult, you must commit to the expectations of the ministry. It’s that simple with us! Our expectations are three things:
For us, fulfilling these expectations are non-negotiable to help out in our ministry. If there is resistance, it raises a big red flag for me. It makes me feel that they are hiding something or are not spiritually mature enough to lead our youth.
What has happened in our ministry is that we have found that our expectations and accountability have attracted people to the ministry. Our people have seemed desperate for a place that makes them be accountable to their connection with God, and it is vital to our growth as a youth ministry.
Jacob Fasig is a veteran youth minister who currently works for McKendree UMC. He is married to Allison and they have two daughters, Zoe and Eve.
We are hearing from numerous youth ministers that during this season their plate is just too full. Caring for others is a ministry staple, but often it comes at the expense of caring for oneself. Self care for the Youth MInister is so important. If you don’t take time for yourself and your own relationship with God, not only will you suffer, but eventually your students will too.
We’ve created a Pandemic Youth Week curriculum bundle that combines elements of both a summer camp and a youth week. Many youth are missing out on both of these due to cancelled camps and trips among other cancelled important events your youth would usually attend. We’ve written this curriculum such that it can be used in person while socially distancing, online, or some combination of both.
Despite all the challenges the pandemic has presented to youth ministries, it has also created an opportunity to allow youth more involvement in worship. Although youth sunday will look very different this year, it is a great opportunity to empower our youth to be leaders. Youth’s comfort and familiarity with technology make them a great resource for churches who are seeking to move their worship services online for the first time.