Being all alone in Youth Ministry Part 1 – Loneliness

A few months back, I wrote a post for Tim Schmoyer‘s list of 100 topics we should write about, and it dealt with leading a youth group when your the only volunteer.

It’s a decent post, it gets the point across, and it gives, in my mind, some helpful tips for leading a youth group when your the only volunteer, which is good.

But I think it fails to address the concerns of being the only leader, and I wanted to touch base on a few of those, because there are some things you need to keep an eye on if this is you. So for the next few weeks, I want to dive more in depth into some of the issues that come with being the only leader in a youth ministry.

The first issue in Small Town Student Ministry is Loneliness. Being the only adult leader is extremely lonely. Right now, we are developing some other leaders, and my wife has really stepped up into being the best volunteer ever. But something that I still am lacking in my leadership of the team is a real sense of Unity, one oneness. We know each other, but we don’t really all know each other. And I understand that you can’t always have a team, and that finding a group to help you out is tough, so I am not simply saying find other leaders, I know that is easier said than done.

But the fact of the matter is, I now have a team with me, and I still feel lonely sometimes. It still on occasion feels like I’m the only one pouring into these kids, with exception to my wife, and that if push came to shove I’d be the only one available to do some of these things. This is just one instance of the loneliness that there is in Youth Ministry, and if your the only volunteer, this feeling can be 100x stronger than it is for me. Another thing that is easier said than done is finding a network of other youth pastors, but this is key, and if not them, then even going to your Sr. Pastor is what you need to do. Find someone you can go to that is on your “team,” someone who is just as passionate about the next generation, that you can throw ideas and concerns off of.

And I know you may be thinking “that’s not my Sr. Pastor.” But I would really encourage you to get rid of that mindset. The truth is, you have no idea how passionate about the next generation your Sr. Pastor really is until you really actually ask him. And if it turns out that for some reason, he isn’t that passionate about him, keep sharing. Have a passion that is passed on to him.

In the end, this is something you should be doing regardless of if you have a youth leader network, because your Sr. Pastor needs to know whats going on with you and your ministry, and he needs to be part of your team. He may not be able to make it to any of your youth events or services, but he should be one of your greatest Team members. If he isn’t, its nothing he has done, but rather, its your lack of involving him.

So being alone is something Youth Pastors in small town student ministry feel very heavily, I get that, and I know the dangers of it. So I urge you to find teammates. Find people who you can count on to be there for you when you need them, not just in the physical sense, but the spiritual one as well.


3 Responses to “Being all alone in Youth Ministry Part 1 – Loneliness”

  1. I love your blog, because it’s always where I am at…probably because every small church seems to have the same issues–and getting people involved is definitely one of them! It’s hard to have a ministry when only one person is running it, or seemingly one person is passionate about it. I’ve had to really dig into the church to find others who are passionate about student ministry. In doing so, I discovered my pastor used to be a youth guy himself. Never would have guessed(He seemed pretty clueless about youth culture to me)! Looking forward to your new posts.

    As a weird side note, when my friends talk about “meeting with their leadership team” it gets me a little jealous! haha

  2. Man, ain’t that the truth. I wish I could tell me pastor how alone I feel, but he would just use it against me, so I feel even more alone.

    I hate that rural youth ministry can often mean your the only youth ministry around, I have no other youth pastors within an hour that I can connect with, Im full time, and I know there are other ministries around, but they are all volunteer and dont have time or need to connect with me.


  1. Being all alone in Youth Ministry Part 2 – Boundaries | Small Town Student Ministry - March 25, 2011

    […] Last week I touched on Loneliness being one of the negatives of being the only person working with your youth ministry. Today’s danger is much like last weeks in the sense that every Youth Pastor/Leader needs to be aware of it, but its especially true in smaller towns where you are the only one working with the youth. […]

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