Finding Support in Youth Ministry: 8 Types of Support People You Really Need

As we wrap up our support series for this week, I wanted to take time to list 8 essential types of people who support me in my ministry.

Finding and keeping support is imperative and will help us hang in for the long haul. Without encouragement, accountability, goals, and development, we are ‘dead’ in the water. God calls us to be in community and to be His body which supports each other.

You cannot live in isolation and effectively conduct youth ministry. You need a ‘web’ of support.

Youth Ministry Support1

Below is a list of the people and reasons why they are on my ‘team’ – Together they act as my ‘web’ of support to help me have a fruitful and effective ministry.

1. Pastor: It’s imperative for us to develop a healthy relationship with our pastors. This should be built on trust and authenticity. I know this is a two-way street, but it’s up to us to invest time in this relationship. In my experience, and as I watch others, a broken relationship with their pastor is often the most cited reason for a youth worker to move on to a new ministry. Remember it’s our call to submit the authority and leadership of the pastor who leads the church. If you can’t submit, why is that?

2. Spouse / Family: If our spouse / family is not on board, it’s like a rock climber trying to drag climbers up a mountain… In ministry, my wife supports me practically and emotionally. We have 3 young kids and it’s challenging for her to be involved in the weekly program. Instead she does a lot of behind the scenes stuff that no one else is aware of. Our conversations and brainstorming are a huge support. However, I am careful to share confidential information or ‘junk’ with her.

3. Elders / Leaders: Every youth worker should seek out 2-3 key influential leaders who he or she can get to know and trust. It’s imperative that we know these leaders get to know and understand our heart for ministry. When challenging days come, it’s imperative to have someone as advocate for you and I.

4. Key Parents: Who are the key parents who have the ability to support and influence your ministry for the better? I have recruited a number of key parent volunteers as well as developing good relationships with parents who are well respected and trusted by others.

Since leadership is healthy influence, it’s good to have influential parents who understand you and your vision.

5. Church Friends / Small Group: We are part of a small group in our church. While it can sometimes be weird for the church worker to be in this kind of group, it’s so important to be involved in a small group from your church. Why should people in your church attend a small group if you don’t? More than that though is the great opportunities we get to do life together and make incredible friends.

6. Friends Outside Your Church: It’s good to have friends who don’t attend your church. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to talk about church without feeling overly sensitive to how it is being received. At times when ministry is tough, it’s essential we have friends who we can offload to in a healthy way.

7. Youth Ministry Network / Youth Ministry Friends. If you are not in a network, you should get involved or start one. It’s brilliant to be able to share stories, ideas, and frustrations with people who understand.

8. Students. Of course, this should be a given, but we often forget about the ownership factor of a students in our ministries.

Today I am meeting with local area youth workers, and my mentor Ron as I continue to lean on my ‘web’ of support. Outside of God, where does your support come from? What would you add to this list? How has a lack of support hurt you in the past?

Phil <><