I heard one of my teachers say that if all you have is hammer then everything looks to you like a nail. As pastors we need to have a tool box of ideas. Each situation must be treated differently according to its uniqueness. However, if we have not learned how to use the different tools of a youth pastor then we will not be very effective. For instance, when a student or staff member comes to you to talk about a problem or crisis there a good and not so good ways to address the situation. You do not have to have all the answers all of the time. They should doing most of the talking and you should be doing most of the listening.
We all know that you and I do not have all the answers, so why do we feel like we have to when someone comes to talk with us? Most likely its because we have a really cool masters degree that makes us extra special and smart. And we like to cut peeps off mid-sentence to give them all of our wisdom and enlightenment. Here's some advice... don't. The last thing someone wants to hear is, “Hmmm, very interesting. You know, the Bible says blah blah blah.”
yes, I know that you are prolly right and yes, it is important to get the JC perspective. However, when someone comes pouring out their heart to you it would be ill advised to just give them a three-point sermon on how to fix their life and problems. John C. Maxwell himself says that he has to continually watch out for this kind of behavior from himself. So if a smart old guy like that is still dealing with it, I know that I am going to be dealing with it as well.
That is just one example of how to begin to set up your ministry tool bag – starting with a pair of listening ears and some duck tape for your mouth. What else can you use? Well, begin with your imagination and start to write stuff down. You will come up with some good stuff. Quips, anecdotes, stories, games and props, sermons, etc.
your peeps need to know that you are well rounded. They want to know that you can not only solve problems, but also be there for them. They need to see you grow and learn. You can never be done doing so. Your staff will see it. They may even contribute to your learning process and make you an indispensable piece to the ministry.