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Youth ministry management: 10 key principles (part 1)

We may not always like it, but part of our job as youth leader is to manage our youth ministry. For some of us, ministry management comes natural, but for others, it’s a challenge.

It may come as a total shock to you, but I actually like the management part of being a youth leader and I’m good at it. So maybe I can help you improve your ministry management by sharing these 10 key principles of doing a great job managing your ministry:

1. Start from a place of rest

I’m a doer, so I’m always tempted to jump right in and start doing whatever is on my to do list. But I’ve learned that to be effective, I have to start from a place of rest. So before I do anything, I spend some time reading God’s Word, journaling and praying.

The journaling especially helps me to slow down, take some time to analyze where I’m at and how I’m feeling. It helps for instance me become aware of any stress I’m experiencing. I can then pray specific passages from Scripture to help me find rest in God.

Also, don’t forget to take your rest during the week. God invented that Sabbath for a reason!

Youth ministry management comes naturally to some (like me), but for others it’s one of the parts of being a youth leader they dislike most (photo: Ulrik de Wachter)

2. Have a perfect to do system

I’ve written about this before, but I’ll say it again: you need to have a perfect to do system you can trust. If you are not 100% convinced all your to do items are on your to do list, it’s worthless because you’ll still have stress over forgetting things and you will actually forget things.

I’m a big fan of the Getting Things Done system, but any other to so system is fine as long as all your to do’s are in one place. All of them.

3. Set priorities

Especially when we’re overwhelmed, we tend to either start with the easiest task, or the task we like best. It’s the bigger to do’s and the ones we dislike that we end up not doing, or doing too late.

Ministry management is about knowing your priorities and handling according to these. And that means saying no to things as well, so you’d better learn how to say no if you’re no good at it.

4. Delegate

You should work according to your strengths. Ministry management is something I’m good at, so for me there was no need to delegate this. But if you’re not good at management, delegate wherever possible to people who do have good management skills.

5. Make plans

A big part of ministry management is about making plans and then executing these. If you want people to follow you, they’ll need to know where you’re heading. A plan shows them exactly where you’re going.

Take time to develop plans with everyone involved. They could be vision statements, teaching plans, strategic plans, operational year plans, social media plans, youth ministry training plans or a plan to make your youth ministry more missional. Brainstorm, think and write it down in a plan. Then communicate and execute.

6. Don’t reinvent the wheel

Whatever you’re planning or trying to do in your youth ministry, chances are that you’re not the first. So learn from others and don’t waste time by reinventing the wheel.

Read tons of books, listen to podcasts, network with other youth leaders, follow relevant blogs or newsletters. Gather as much information, input and ideas as possible. They will not only provide you with a enormous amount of resources, they will also spark your own creativity.

Tomorrow, I’ll share 4 more key principles to good youth ministry management. Stay tuned!

How do you feel about ministry management, is it something you endure because you have to or do you find satisfaction in it?

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  1. […] we discussed the first 6 key principles of good youth ministry management. Today we’ll look at 4 more. Here we […]

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