Nearly all clergy with any amount of ministry years under their belts have served as the solo pastor at least once. That, in fact, is the general modus operandi for the clergy. Not so with the other members of the typical church staff team: music ministers, Christian education ministers, family ministry ministers and youth ministers all, by the very nature of their positions assume a working relationship with colleagues. Their positions do not very well lend themselves to a solo endeavor. In addition, being a youth minister doesn’t necessarily require a degree, although more persons in youth ministry have them. Furthermore, it is more likely that those in the youth ministry position are just starting out in their adult working career, and are therefore the youngest member of the team. In this setting, that inexperience can be a detriment.
Being the youngest player on the team—having little real world experience, but gobs of trembling enthusiasm—makes the youth minister more vulnerable than the other players on the ministry team. It is more than appropriate for the young youth minister to still be attending to their own development: where am I going in life? what am I doing here? what does God want me to be doing? is this what I want to do when I grow up? how can I have a dating life when I am busy with kids 8 nights a week? This apropos attention to personal growth issues, coupled with the lack of relevant academic training in administration and the dynamics of people management already referred to, makes the youth minister the least empowered member of the team. Sadly, power can be a very important factor, motivation—and tool—in the ministry team matrix. It goes without saying that the youth minister is the low-person on the power ladder, when power is the key to the team. Having power means having control.
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