I received some great emails in regards to my last article. If you get a chance, read some of the thoughtful comments that came from youth pastors around the nation. I posted a few that I received.
Here are some final concluding thoughts and remarks
1) Yes, administration will always be a major aspect of youth ministry (especially if you work at a church). We cannot avoid it, but should not allow ourselves to get overwhelmed by it.
2) If administration is not a strong point or passion for you…get over it and do it, lest you get fired!
No seriously, you can try to find someone at church who loves that stuff and then delegate a large portion of it to him or her. It has worked for some friends of mine and could work for you.
3) Some of you mentioned the reality of equipping leaders to do the actual “ministry” to students while the youth pastor tackles the office work. Clearly this can work in certain contexts and might be a necessity.
However, I still hold that youth pastors/leaders are called, trained, and equipped to spend time with teenagers, not to sort through stacks of paper.
So, if that is what you spend the majority of your time doing (let’s say over 50%) I would really advise taking a mini-retreat and pray about your priorities and what you are really called to do and passionate about doing. I know this from first hand experience. Probably 4-5 years back I found myself guilty of just that, and I needed to get away and have a real good heart to heart (with myself and God)
Additionally, if the paperwork forces others to step up in their ministry and leadership, then that can be a good thing. But…don’t wait until a lack of time dictates finding and equipping more leaders. We should be doing that now! That way it is us plus a handful of dedicated leaders working together towards an even great impact. We need to by paving the way and leading by example.
4) Also, I really appreciate one comment about trying to find creative ways to minimize the amount of paperwork needed and exchanged.
In this struggling economy, our youth ministry is intentionally scaling way back on events, trips, etc..that cost money and require paperwork.
Lunch meetings, small groups, and other forms of relational ministry should not require much administration and will often return far deeper results and more life transformation.
So, perhaps our transition away from program-driven youth ministry may free up more clutter from our desks, and allow us more time away from our offices to actually spend time with students. Imagine that!