- We believe that our youth worker needs spiritual support in their work with young people.
- We promise to pray for our youth worker and make supporting their spiritual life a high priority.
What does your youth worker need to do their job well?
Answering that question, you might make a list that includes recruiting a good number of volunteers to help, perhaps a dedicated youth room in the church and, of course, some money to spend from the church budget.
But it’s important to remember that the spiritual support the church gives to the youth worker is vital too. A common phrase to remember in ministry is that, “we can’t give away what we don’t have ourselves.” A church can not only focus on the spiritual growth and prayer needs of the youth, but must come along side the youth worker in those areas as well.
A youth worker’s spiritual health is vital to having a healthy youth ministry in your church.
Praying for your youth worker.
Many youth workers will prefer you to concentrate on praying for young people rather than themselves, but the church should do both! Too many youth workers burn out or struggle with personal issues without anyone knowing what’s going on. Praying for them isn’t the only solution, but it’s a good start.
As you will want to pray for your youth worker publicly, perhaps in a service or at church prayer meetings, that won’t always be appropriate for sharing certain issues. For more personal prayer, you may want to encourage other contexts where smaller groups or individuals can pray and support your youth worker. Some of the congregation who don’t see themselves as able to help as a volunteer with the youth work, may find this a great way to contribute.
Helping your youth worker stay spiritually healthy.
Whether it’s a weekly Staff Bible Study, a small group that your youth worker is not expected to lead, or an evening of worship and prayer for church leadership, it is so important to have things in place to feed your youth worker and keep them growing in their walk with God.
Many churches have also found it helpful to encourage the youth worker to have a spiritual director: someone who’ll meet with them regularly, not as part of their management, but simply to offer a space to share about their own spiritual journey and pray about whatever is on their mind. That gives the chance to talk openly about things without worrying about how the church will react, and can often nip problems in the bud. A spiritual director could be a more experienced youth worker in another church or someone who’s trained/experienced in spiritual direction or supporting and listening to people. Whoever they are, they need to be someone the youth worker trusts and can be open to about their journey.
Questions to consider
- Does your church have anything in place that serves to meet the spiritual needs of the youth worker?
- Is there an appropriate and confidential context for the youth worker to share any struggles or needs and to ask for personal prayer?
- How do you actively encourage and challenge your youth worker to take time to strengthen their own faith?
Ideas to help you meet this promise
- Require your youth worker to find a spiritual director who is outside any management structures.
- Start a regular email prayer update for the youth work and include prayer requests from the youth worker as well as praying for young people.
- Add being part of a local youth ministry worship and prayer network to your youth workers job description.
What your church needs to do
- The church needs to plan to take two actions in the coming year related to this promise. Those actions do not necessarily need to be the suggestions made above. They can also include things that the church has already done previously and is planning to continue to do in the coming year.