Your First 2 Years in Youth Ministry - 7 Best Practices: Mentorship

Posted on by YFC Seattle

By Warren Mainard, CORE & Youth Ministry Network Director

Practice One: Find Your Yoda - Mentorship

You are young, energetic and the students love you.  You have an endless flow of ideas and you are ready to take this next generation for Christ.  When I started in youth ministry at the age of 19 years old nearly 24 years ago, I knew that I was going to change the world, one youth at a time.  The last thing I needed was a crusty old fart telling me what wouldn’t work and why I needed to slow down and not get ahead of myself.

With endless enthusiasm and zeal, I put together dynamic Bible studies, unforgettable games, hilarious skits and fantastic events.  I even did lock-ins (did I mention I was 19?). Our youth ministry grew, kids caught fire for the Lord and every student in our youth ministry either professed faith in Christ or rededicated their lives to the Lord.

Yet, there was a lot that I didn’t know.  The more the ministry grew, the more plates started spinning and it was not long before my inexperience began to show itself in many different arenas of my life.

Thankfully, I was blessed to have two mentors who played the role of Yoda to my Luke.  OK, they weren’t old and green… they were actually more like the cool (Ewan McGregor) Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I would rather not think of myself as Anakin in this scenario!  Recognizing that I needed to pair my energy with a mentor’s wisdom, I turned to my former Youth Pastor and my lead Pastor for direction.  Both were glad to help, but neither was going to impose their wisdom on me.  I needed to ask them for wisdom and I needed to trust their feedback on my life and ministry, even when it wasn’t easy to hear.  As I met with my mentors, I learned to ask a few key questions -

  • What am I doing well? 
  • Where am I struggling to make progress?
  • What do I need to learn? (This often meant asking about specific books I needed to read or leaders I needed to meet).
  • What am I missing?

Have you found your Yoda?  Who is mentoring you?  Who can you go to and ask for sage advice?  Who will tell you when your ministry models are flawed and your priorities are out of alignment?  If you want to impact youth deeply for the long haul, you will not make it without a guide who has gone where you want to go.  Don’t wait for someone to offer to be your mentor, go out and find someone with some scars and some stories that will walk with you in your journey.  Thankful you will be. 

Other Posts in this Series:

Your First 2 Years in Youth Ministry - 7 Best Practices: Teamwork

Your First 2 Years in Youth Ministry - 7 Best Practices: Balance

Your First 2 Years in Youth Ministry - 7 Best Practices: Parental Guidance

Your First 2 Years in Youth Ministry - 7 Best Practices: Be, Know, Do

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