Jared Elrod started this great blog series called “Behind the Ministry” to highlight youth workers who are doing some amazing things in their church, youth ministry, and in their communities. If you’d like to share your story in a Behind the Ministry post, email us HERE and we’ll connect you with Jared.
Timothy L. Cruz, Youth & Young Adult Pastor, Liberty Churches
GIVE US A BACKSTORY OF HOW YOU GOT INTO YOUTH MINISTRY.
Youth ministry changed my life. I was always a youth leader in every church that I was a part of. Nothing could pull me away. When I came to Liberty Churches, I knew this is the place that I will be for a long time. Then the pastor came to me and asked me, “Hey, do you want to be a youth pastor?” I said, “YES!!!” The rest is history!
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A YOUTH PASTOR?
I think every youth pastor will say their speaking is their strength. While I agree that is my top strength, I have to say it is my capability to meet students where they are and build relationships with them that allow me to speak into their life.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE HIGH TURNOVER IN YOUTH MINISTRY?
It is sad because if youth pastors realized that it is not about them, it is about Jesus, then we would stop trying to build our platforms and build the platform of Jesus Christ!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A NEW YOUTH PASTOR WHO WANTS TO GIVE UP, OR IS QUESTIONING HIS/HER CALLING?
Don’t stop…Keep going…Realize that your strength lies in Christ, not you.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE YOUTH MINISTRY RESOURCES?
IF YOU WERE STARTING OVER TODAY AS A YOUTH PASTOR WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Put more of a focus on the presence of God rather than the platform.
SHARE SOME STORIES FROM YOUR TIME IN YOUTH MINISTRY. GOOD, BAD, OR FUNNY.
I am using the bathroom and I have a student who runs in and screams PASTOR TIM WE NEED YOU!!!!. I walk outside and see one of my student’s car with three of our students on the side of the road with the car crashed. It was the scariest time of my career but God is good.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY IN YOUTH MINISTRY?
We operate off the premise of “Loving Students to Christ.” It is all about Jesus Christ and the message of the Gospel that changed the world two thousand years ago. Christ is the center of all that we do and nothing moves from that. Then we move to five key areas: connect, grow, reach, serve and worship. This encompasses all areas of our ministry.
GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF HOW YOU OPERATE IN YOUR STRENGTH. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU ARE SUPER ORGANIZED, WALK US THROUGH HOW YOU SET UP YOUR CALENDAR, OR WHATEVER YOU ROCK AT. IF YOU ARE GREAT AT COMMUNICATING BREAK DOWN YOUR PROCESS.
Honestly, I can sit here all day and talk about how I operate effectively. What sets me up the most for the whole day is starting in prayer in the morning and getting a head start. I organize everything I do into a list of priority and then start hacking away. Keep your calendar in order and you will be in order.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SAY?
It is not about you, it is about Christ. Never forget it!
JARED ELROD is a Youth Pastor, Online Marketer, and part time YouTube video maker. He has been involved in youth ministry full time since 2009, and spends most of his free time studying the latest trends in both youth ministry and Online marketing so he can try out what works best (and what completely flops) then writes about it at YOUTH FACTOR.