We had such a great time in our Hangout last week with small church youth ministry guru Stephanie Caro! A lot of the youth workers that participated mentioned that the Q&A portion was the most beneficial section for them, so we wanted to slice up the interview into sections that would make it easy to share with your youth leaders.
Here's the Q&A portion of the Hangout:
Here are the questions that we didn't have enough time for in the Q&A and Stephanie's responses:
“How can I make small groups work in my small youth ministry?”
Really? In a lot of the same ways you do in a larger group. Quality questions and quality askers are important. You could begin and end in the larger group, and then break out into groups of just 2-3 people for the questions. This will still give the “small” group affect yet allow a feel a critical mass. Maybe the 2-3 person groups are not adult led. Having an adult leader is more productive in a small group of 7-8 but can feel overwhelming in a group of 2-3.
“How common is it for children's ministry responsibilities to be combine with youth ministry responsibilities? How do you address youth ministry for someone in a combined role?”
This is the norm for small churches (and something we're going to see more and more of as medium size churches become smaller). The combo staff person will spend more volunteer development time in the CM part of the work. Really, the combo job makes things easier. All the admin, foundational work involves all the same people/families and so you only have to do it all once.
“So my question would be about leadership. I am a full-time youth minister who doesn't have leaders who completely understand what it is that I do. I am in a smaller church and it seems like to me that they just want someone to “babysit” the kids/youth so they can have “church”. How do I get the leadership to see the importance of a youth ministry and supporting it?”
Big question with multi-layer answers. The biggest piece? The YM vision has to come from the church people since they're the “architect” of the YM (creating the blueprints). Your role is to be the “general contractor” who sees the blueprints are lived out. The more the church is involved in creating where the ministry is to go in light of the church's DNA, the more church leadership will have buy-in and will understand what you do. After all, they'll have helped plan the work you're doing. Make sense? Its a lot easier to support a group of people by nudging them from behind than it is to drag them along.