I just finished re-reading an article that I had read a few years ago written by Mark Oestreicher of Youth Specialties called “What I Wish I Knew When I Started Youth Ministry, Part 1: My Stupid Misconceptions”. Well they are not just his misconceptions. I know all of us who have been in youth ministry have held some or all of these misconceptions at one time or another (and perhaps even still). I have seen volunteers who have struggled with these misconceptions, as well as, parents, church board members and pastors. Read the article for a detailed explanation, but I wanted to list them here.
- My role as a youth worker is to be a buddy to the students.
- My role is to identify and confront all the sin in students’ lives.
- I can fix any student.
- I’ve got to be cool, speak the lingo, play guitar, and throw around youth culture references.
- Parents are the enemy; parents are the problem (obviously parents don’t hold this one).
- Advisory teams and boards are useless and slow you down.
- I’ve got better ideas than other youth workers.
- The best curriculum is the stuff I write.
- Young adults make the best youth workers.
- I’m in competition with other churches.
- The goal is to be big.
- Youth ministry is the most important ministry in the church.
- Safety issues are for other people and other churches.
- If you ignore problems, they’ll go away.
- A lot can be accomplished in the first year.
- Eventually I’ll have youth ministry totally figured out.
Are there any of these you take exception with? Are there others you would add? Leave a comment and let me know.
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Editor & Founder at Caffeinated Thoughts
Shane Vander Hart is the founder and editor-in-chief of Caffeinated Thoughts. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, LLC, a social media & communications consulting/management firm. Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings. He has also served as an interim pastor and is a sought-after speaker and pulpit fill-in. Shane has been married to his wife Cheryl since 1993 and they have three kids. Shane and his family reside near Des Moines, IA.
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