10 Ways to Fail as a Youth Worker (Part 2)


This post is the second of a two part series.  To read Part 1, Click Here!

6) Don’t reach out to parents.  When I was a kid, my mom made me go to youth group.  I didn’t always want to go – but she would make me get in the car each Wednesday night and go anyway.  Why? Because she had a good relationship with my youth pastors.  She knew their heart and vision and believed in the program they had established.  If my youth pastors had not developed a relationship with my parents, I may not be where I am today. It’s important to connect with as many families as you can, or you will #fail!

7) Don’t have a volunteer team.  I have known youth ministers who like to do it all themselves – DON’T! We can do it by ourselves but it’s no healthy at all – it will make us and our students #fail.  If we’re the only ones in spiritual leadership positions then our students tend to rely on us – not God.  This also leads to youth ministry burnout – always have a strong team of volunteers to help you along the way.

8) Don’t spend more time with your spouse than your youth. Family comes first – period.  If you are with your youth more than you’re with your spouse, you’re #failing.  Make sure you’re talking to your husband/wife often and asking if they feel your ministry is getting in the way of your relationship.  If it is, then step back a bit.  Your marriage always comes first – period.

9) Don’t be original.  I love reading about what other youth pastors are doing.  This gives some really good ideas that can be implemented in our youth program, too.  Make sure you’re not just doing someone else’s program week after week.  If the Church across the street did something that was a big hit that doesn’t mean it will be a big hit for you too. Be original in what you do! The kids that come to your youth group come because they like your youth group.  If they wanted to do the same events as the Church across the street then, well, they would be attending the Church across the street! It’s okay to borrow sometimes, but make sure your overall group is original – or you’ll probably #fail.

10) Don’t debrief programs. No matter what the program is – always debrief! I typically break events into three categories – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  I note the good things (made money, had good numbers, brought teens to Christ, etc).  I note the bad things (lost money, not much attendance, not enough publicity, the message was lost, etc).  I note the ugly things (youth snuck alcohol to event, two students made out in the closet during sardines, one of my kids broke his leg due to my negligence  etc).  This will help you decide whether or not to do this event again and how you can improve it next time.  Make sure to send your debrief form to all of your adult volunteers involved to get