If you’re like the majority of Catholic youth minister’s out there, you’re a self-doubting bundle of hang ups, determined to believe that your ministry will never be good enough.
It’s the life of the angst-ridden, misunderstood youth minister, right?
Wait a minute, what’s that? You think you’re pretty good at Catholic youth ministry and actually like some of your accomplishments?
Don’t worry, it’s just a blip. With these 5 tips you’ll soon be joining the rest of the Catholic youth ministry community in feeling anxious about your abilities and so-called “gifts.”
1. Make Sure That You Never Think You’ve Done Enough
You don’t really think that ministry is ever done, do you? Come on, there’s always more teens to reach, parents to please, pastors to get to join you and the teens on retreat and you know full well that in a couple of days you’ll think of something new to add to ministry at your parish.
2. Ignore Any Past Success
If you’ve been lucky enough to get praised for something, it’s probably just a case of being in the right place at the right time. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you did something good, that you tapped into a rich, dynamic youth ministry wave, or that your words struck a chord.
Sometimes youth ministers get lucky. The chance of it happening again is about the same as seeing your DRE win “So You Think You Can Dance.” Nope, it’s back to square one.
3. Recognize That The Idea You Had is Too “Catholic”
You know that idea that came to you, the one you’re pretty excited about? You might have already started implementing, fuelled by a burst of enthusiasm and a spurt of passion for what you’re doing. The one that has the teens talking.
Hang on though — just because you think it’s a good idea doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. Who are you to say what teens will be interested in or what’s relevant to them?
One way to improve your “great” idea is to make sure you have every angle covered and water it down to make sure it has as wide an appeal as possible. That way people won’t complain about you being so over the top “Catholic”!
Even better, just leave it on your “Too “Catholic” Ideas” list.
4. Never Trust Your Own Core Team
All of your ministry comes from your own head and your own experience.
And let’s face facts, that means that anything the Core team comes up with is probably as far off-target as Josh Groban opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
It’s good practice to doubt what they say and how they say it. That’s what all the really good youth ministers do.
Constant core-doubt makes sure that you’re always on edge and, most important, that you never make any mistakes.
5. Give Up When You Feel Like It
Catholic youth ministry is hard. You probably already knew that. Sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating, painful and awkward to get those teens and parents to listen, and while some people say that rejection is part of it, feel free to take it as a sign to give up on those that are hard to reach.
Not everything you do will work and you can’t be expected to keep sweating when it gets tough.
Always remember that you started in youth ministry for the joy of it, not because it’s hard. You’re a youth minister, not a wrestler, so the sooner you stop trying to reach that sweaty, slippery and stubborn teen the sooner you can go and talk to one easier to approach.
What’s that you say?
Sure, I guess it’s possible that you don’t want to feel uneasy about your ministry. If that’s the case, I suppose you could try doing the reverse of these five pieces of advice.
Then again, that would probably never work. Just forget I mentioned it.