While reading a youth ministry article recently, I noticed a commenter asking why a student minister even needs an office. As someone who has an office and spends time in that office each week, I had a hard time trying to figure out just what he or she was getting at.
I don’t necessarily love my time in my office, but I also cannot figure out how it is not necessary. As the only paid youth staff at my church, I play a significant role in delivering programs and plans for our students. I tried to figure out just what I do in the office and here is a list I came up with:
- Develop the program parts for Sunday and Wednesday night programs.
- Communicate with students, parents, and volunteers through facebook, email, blogging, and (the dreaded) phone call.
- Complete paperwork such as check requests and collection logs.
- Meet with volunteers, parents, and students about who knows what until they show up and ask if I have a second.
- Prepare and plan events such as retreats and mission trips.
- Spend time staying in touch with resources, articles, and youth ministry ideas.
This list leaves off a few things I am sure, but the thing is that I find myself in the office quite a bit. There are some ministers who are on big staffs with their role only being to spend time with students. There are also ministries where some of what I mentioned is done by volunteers (we’re working on that and will be in 20 years). I simply find the office time to be a necessary part of my job.
Does this mean that it is what I would rather be doing? Not really, though I do love to create a good plan and see it work. I would much rather spend everyday mentoring students and helping them realize what God has in store for their lives. However, something that I have to remember is that contributing the kingdom is done in many different ways. Creating a calendar and planning a Wednesday night program can be important ways to contribute to what God is doing in the lives of your students.
When we look at ministry as a journey, we see that sometimes you have to plan the trip before you can take the trip. There are days like today when there just is not much going on, and I need to use the time to plan events and programs. There are also days when I spend the majority of the day speaking to and working with students. Some days we have impact through preparation and check requests.
I must admit that there are days when I have been in the office far too much, and at the end of the day I really wonder what I actually accomplished. I have found that I need to do one thing that would count towards active discipleship in order for me to really feel good about my day. Maybe it is a quick thank you note for a volunteer or a conversation over facebook with a student. What pushes me and motivates me is that I never want to leave the office feeling like nothing would be different if I had just stayed home.