3 Things I Wish I Knew When I started YM

By Josh Griffin on March 25 2014

I just crossed 20 years in youth ministry … so I suppose there’s now some grace for me to reminisce about way back when I started in youth ministry? I spent some time reflecting with a friend the other day about those early years in youth ministry, and he asked me what I would tell myself if I could go back in time and help a brother out.

Aside from not taking the bait of me going back and talking to myself – talk about creating some continuity problems and a rip in the time-space continuum … sheesh … I thought it would be fun to journal what I wish I knew. Here are 3 things I wish I knew when I started out:

Youth ministry is a marathon not a sprint

Youthful over eagerness can be strength at times, but often it is viewed as a negative. Passion is a powerful force, but passionate burnout is real and many well-meaning people have sprinted their way right out of ministry. I know now what I didn’t know then – youth ministry is about being faithful for a lifetime, not being faithful for the short-term. It is all about the lifelong journey.

A healthy youth ministry takes time

Turning a youth ministry around isn’t going to happen overnight. Building a youth ministry from scratch isn’t going to be done in a year. And just when you think you’ve got some things cooking, you’ll realize that something is horrifically broken.

Collaboration is the key to most everything

Want to be a better sermon writer? Collaborate with people in every stage of the process. Want to do great youth ministry events? Don’t feel the pressure to pull things off if it isn’t your gifting, surround yourself with great people who can help you win. Build a team. Love them. Love God. Love students.

Josh Griffin is the co-founder of Download Youth Ministry and the leading blogger in youth ministry and has created more than 50 youth ministry resources. Check out much more at Love God, Love Students blog at DownloadYouthMinistry.com and on his Twitter @joshuagriffin.


Picture of Brian

From Brian on April 03, 2014

Collaboration is such a simple recommendation but powerful. 
Its strange how easy it is to think do myself instead work with or even give away to someone else.

I had lunch with a younger leader today and I walked away reminded of the power of bringing someone along as he was talking about how he is flourishing in a discipleship relationship where they are sharing large amounts of the routines of life together. 

Good reminder to be intentional in leadership and invite someone in.  Even if we have no need to, it is powerful in helping others grow and it always brings surprising value to what we are trying to accomplish.
Helpful thought. Thanks.

  1. Remember me?
  2. Send me an email when someone responds.