If I Were To Do It Again

I was a youth pastor for 13 years.  Today, I am active in youth
ministry as a volunteer at The Church of the Resurrection near my home
in Kansas City but most of my contribution to youth ministry these days
is through training, writing, speaking and consulting.
Recently, I was sharing some thoughts regarding the future of youth
ministry with a  group of local lead and executive pastors.  I was
asked, “If you were to go back and do youth ministry again, as you once
did, how would what you know now change how you would lead a youth
ministry?”  I had a few items off the top of my head (some are listed
below) but I pointed them all to this post for a more robust list of
things I might do differently.  So, if I were to go back and lead a
youth ministry again I would…

You fill in this sentence … and let’s see if we can help youth pastors… what have you learned?

?    Act theologically before methodologically
?    Be more of a spiritual director than a program director
?    Hire a parent to be a part of our youth staff
?    Spend more time investing in interns/co-pastors
?    Experiment with more learner-centered education models
?    Ask less of my volunteers and yet equip them more
?    Communicate change to the church leaders, staff and parents more
?    Create more opportunities for students to “learn up” instead of me “teaching down”
?    Celebrate the successes in the lives of students with greater regularity and intensity
?    Worry less about the retreat themes and spend more time with the students on the retreats.
?    Take students on way more spiritual retreats
?    Work hard to be more collaborative with the youth workers in my city

?    Take more time off to be with my wife and kids
?    Be more intentional with a confirmation process
?    Find time to laugh and play more
?    Be more grace-filled with students who were goofing off and causing trouble
?    Try to learn more from the staff instead of thinking I have all the answers
?    Take the criticism of others more seriously and less defensively
?    Meet with my spiritual director more often
?    Take personal retreats more often
?    Be way more missional and a lot less attractional in my approach or model
?    Try and get more pulpit time to advocate for the students in the church and community
?    Pray more and develop a team of people to pray with
?    Provide inspiring training for the parent of the students
?    Call the students to greater levels of holiness
?    Spend a lot more time creating opportunities for students to practice justice
?    Allow the more artistic students opportunities to express themselves and their love for God.
?    Teach much more conversationally
?    Try to enter into the joy, pain, loss, doubt, hurt, etc. of the students and their families

If I spend some more time thinking I am sure I could come up with a list of a whole lot more things I would do differently.  If you are a youth pastor/worker, what are some things you have learned to do differently from when you began until now?  If you are a former youth pastor/worker, what are some things that you would do differently?

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