"Going Out Advice"
Well, today is officially my last moment as Youth Pastor at Bethlehem Assembly. It has been nearly 8 years and I have been honored to have served this awesome church. Pastor Steve asked me to give some “going out advice” to Jimmy Smuda (he’s the new guy). So I thought I would share my “paul-like” words …
Here’s my advice to you:
1. Love God with everything you have.
This is the most essential component of a healthy ministry. You can give what you do not have!
2. Love these students the way Christ loves the Church.
Make the necessary sacrifices to see this ministry explode in every area.
3. Live privately what you proclaim publicly.
Live it. Enough said.
4. Get a life before a ministry.
Don’t get sucked into the “ministry first” mentality. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your friendships. Enjoy life.
5. Put your family first in every situation.
Let the students see your dedication to the family. In a world where marriage and kids are devalued – show the students the VALUE in it.
6. Love your ministry.
Never let it become a job. Enjoy the times of prayer, worship, relationship, retreats/conventions and all that youth ministry is about!
7. Last longer than I did.
Don’t settle for the “average” stay of a Youth Pastor. Longevity is the key to ministry success. Last as long as God calls you, but shoot for 10 years! You will be amazed at the growth you will see.
8. Connect with local ministers.
Don’t get stuck in the Bethlehem Bubble. See what others are doing. Learn and share.
9. Don’t say “sucks” or “crap.”
Pastor Steve hates those words. In fact, he believes they are curses.
Be open. Share your life. Share your ministry. Share your family. Share your dreams. Share your passions.
11. Never live in my shadow.
I will be your biggest fan and supporter. I truly believe that God called you here. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have the potential to do “above and beyond” what I have done. That is what I will always pray for.
12. Don’t try to please everyone.
Embrace criticism – If you don’t your students/parents will do it behind your back. Please an audience of one.
13. Learn people’s names.
Create a “Cheer’s” environment in youth ministry. It gives students meaning.
14. Listen. Listen. Listen.
Rearrange the word “listen” and you get “silent.” Listen twice as much as you speak – that’s why we have 2 ears and 1 mouth.
15. Read. Study. Live youth culture.
It must be your passion to know the culture you are reaching. Learn Long Island schedules. Study Long Island trends. Live the Long Island life.
16. Stay relevant.
Reach as many lost students as possible. All is a great goal! Use any creative means possible!
I am praying for nothing less than you “winning.” Let God use you in the most amazing ways possible. We will celebrate your success.
The last 2 days have been the most emotional. Seeing the new guy in my office, handing over the keys, introducing him to the youth, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is God’s choice!!