Believe you me. If there is a place for you to start in ministry, then this is it. I do not care if you are the youth pastor coming into a church of five or five hundred. You will have to put in the time to make your church grow in every way. First of all, you are going to have to grow in your influence. If you do not do this then nothing good will ever happen. And if it does, it will be in spite of what you do for the group. It is important to know that the time that you put in will pay off. You just have to do it. I was talking with a youth pastor just the other day and he asked me what he needed to do as a new guy in the game. He is young, vibrant, and a great communicator. The guy loves JC a ton and wants to change the world. However, he is also a youth guy with a wife and like a bunch of kids. This is not the best choice necessarily for him to make concerning financials, but he believes in what God is doing and willing to put in the time and make the sacrifice. He asked me where to start.
The best place for him to start is with the peeps in his church, specifically the persons putting time into his ministry. There are parents and collegians that believe in the group, not really him yet. And he gets all frustrated because he feels like peeps do not want to listen to him. They do not think that he has very good ideas but he knows that they will work and that this is the best way to do ministry. Now, what I told him, after I was done laughing because this situation was all too familiar and close to home for me, was that he had to go on a mission. His first couple of years is going to be all about building relationships. Even if peeps would have known him before he took over the ministry (which they did not) he would really only get a pass for the first couple of months. After that it is all about your merits. And the fact is that when you are the new youth pastor no one expects you to stay around. So, you must earn your way into the hearts of those you intend to lead. And leading means that you have to serve and serve until you cannot serve anymore. And then you serve some more.
The most frustrating thing is to put time into someone or a group of peeps that end up falling off the face of the earth. But that is what you are going to have to do if you are going to make an impact in ministry. As you continue on in ministry your radar will get stronger and you will know who you need to put your time into. And I am speaking of potential leaders of course. You are only one person. If you try to do everything you will not be good at anything. Focus your time. And if it is your first couple years of ministry you will feel a lot of the time that you are not getting anything accomplished. You will spend tons of time with peeps that come and go in your ministry. But this is where you build your character.
You have to be the one to stick around. You have to be the one to persevere. When you feel that no one else is buying into your vision, keep on going and sooner or later, sometimes much later, peeps will jump on board and your group will begin to grow, in every way you were hoping. But you have to know what you want for your group. You have to be the one to set the direction. This will help you to be intentional in the time you spend with peeps on your staff. They deserve your best. So spend some sleepless nites thinking about and praying for them. You should never just hang out with your staff peeps but instead have goals and dreams for them and their areas of ministry. Start with the cream of the crop and go from there. It will build a successful ministry and add value to others.