One of the unexpected blessings of this past year has been the opportunity to spend time with other youth ministers in our area. It’s unexpected because I would not have guessed that it would make such a huge impact on my own approach and understanding of ministry. I have gained so much from spending time with my fellow ministers.
Truthfully, the idea to get the network going came out of my own shortcomings. I was noticing that I had a hard heart towards many of the other local youth workers. When their programs out shined mine or when I lost students to their ministry, I sat in judgment rather than celebration that the Kingdom of God was increasing. As I recognized this dark place in my heart, I knew that the only way to resolve it was to open the doors of relationship with these men and women who were, after all, trying to accomplish the same goals that I was. All it took was a few phone calls to recognize that restarting the network was something that resonated with all of the other youth workers in our area.
The previous network failed primarily because it was not built on relationships. It was more informational or sales oriented. With this in mind, we have tried to keep our meetings agenda free where we can discuss ministry and life in an organic way. Over the past year we have become more comfortable with one another. We have also gained more respect for one another. Great evidence of this is that we are developing an unwritten rule that calls us to communicate with other ministers if a student comes to our church from theirs. Imagine the benefit this brings as we seek to help the student down the journey of faith.
Over the course of the last year I have received ideas, encouragement, ministry opportunities, and friendship from our ministry network. It continues to amaze me how easily things came together after just a few phone calls. God has blessed our fellowship as we seek to work together to reach the students of our communities. If you have not found a network of ministers in your area, maybe it is up to you get the ball rolling. I guarantee that it may be one of the most beneficial things that you do in ministry.