In this episode of the Youth Ministry Answers podcast, Kenny & Elle are joined by Caleb McMains and Porfirio Caldera to discuss collaboration with other youth pastors.
(Did you Know that Caleb and Porfirio contributed the all-nighter event to Grow Curriculum & Strategy? Click here to learn more about Grow!)
Why Partner With Another Youth Pastor?
“When you have a good relationship with the youth pastors around you, you can do more for the kingdom.” -Caleb McMains
Partnering with another youth pastor can sometimes be stressful, but the benefits far outweigh the potential stresses. So, why partner with another youth pastor?
- MORE RESOURCES: You can pool your budgets and resources.
- MORE OPTIONS: You will have more options for what you can do at your event because you will have a larger number of students. For example, venues may give you better rates.
- MORE ENERGY: It can bring a new energy when you have more students. You’ll find yourself experiencing a new excitement about what you’re doing!
- MORE FRIENDS: It’s valuable to have shared experiences that you can look back on and learn from alongside other youth workers.
Sometimes, large churches and small churches within the community may feel disconnected from one another. If you’re serving at a smaller church and feel strapped for resources, creativity, and numbers, don’t be afraid to reach out to larger churches to collaborate on events! If you’re serving at a larger church, be conscientious of the smaller churches in your community, and invite them to be a part of your events when possible.
How Do I Partner With Another Youth Pastor?
1.) Become Their Friend
It’s foundational. If you don’t have an existing friendship or aren’t willing to become friends with one another, it’s going to be frustrating and difficult to plan an event together.
This requires a shift in mindset. Have a heart for truly caring about the pastors you’re working with, instead of just trying to get something out of them.
You may need to step out of your comfort zone. No two youth pastors are the same! Don’t rule out friendship with other youth workers just because they are different than you; in fact, those may be the relationships that you learn the most from.
2.) Share Ideas Equally
It’s all about balance. You have to be willing both to give your ideas and listen to others’ ideas.
Remember that preferences and requirements are two different things. Understand that you may feel very strongly about how certain aspects of the events are planned, and not everyone will agree with you! Take a step back and try to discern whether your feelings are being driven by preference or by set-in-stone requirements. In the end, you may need to sacrifice some of your preferences for the sake of being a good team player and having a successful event!
3.) Respect Each Other
Respect one another’s time. Coordinating with other youth pastors to schedule meetings can be difficult, so when a meeting is set, it is important to respect that commitment! Do not push back meeting dates, show up late to meetings, or come to meetings unprepared. Commitment, promptness, and preparation communicate that you respect the other person’s time.
Respect one another’s ideas. Don’t be that guy or gal that comes in and shuts down everyone else’s suggestions.
Respect one another’s processes. Every ministry functions differently from an administrative perspective. Respect the fact that every ministry has its own set of procedures for things like budget approval, event safety, or any number of other things.
4.) Leverage Your Strengths
Consider one another’s strengths. Every youth worker has different strengths and areas of expertise; don’t be afraid to play to those strengths!
Consider each other’s networks. Are there individuals in each other’s congregations or on each other’s volunteer teams whose gifts can help fill a need that you have for the event you’re planning? Invite them to participate!
5.) Keep the Relationship Going
Share feedback. After the event, call each other for feedback. Asking for feedback communicates, “I trust you and I trust what you’re saying.”
See one another in person. Take the time to grab lunch or coffee together. Nothing beats the chance to spend time together in person!
Youth Ministry Coaching with April L. Diaz
As a full-time youth pastor, how can I balance ministry and motherhood?
Although I know that making time for family is important, I feel a pressure from myself, my students, and my volunteers to spend a lot of time with students. However, I feel like if I’m saying “yes” to a teenager for something, then I’m saying “no” to my family.
In the past, I’ve set office hours where students know they can find me at the church. This worked for basic counseling or for coffee dates, but this system doesn’t work as well over the summer.
- Re-evaluate your parenting and ministry rhythm three times per year. You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time. There may need to be some seasons where you’re giving more attention to ministry, and other seasons where you’re giving more attention to your family. You’ll need to communicate that in order to be able to be in ministry for the long hail. it will be important that you’re able to make tweaks.
- Model what a healthy family looks like for your students! Understand that when you say “no” to your students in order to say “yes” to your family, you’re teaching your students what it means to be great in marriage, motherhood, and ministry.
- Empower your volunteers to step up and spend time with students one on one!
- Try to begin seeing students in groups of two or three instead of exclusively in one-on-one meetings.
Want to Make Your Events Awesome? Grow Curriculum & Strategy Can Help.
With 6 pre-planned events, 50 weeks of curriculum, annual planning tools, 50 games, and all the discipleship, parent, and volunteer resources you could need, Grow Curriculum & Strategy gives you the time you need to spend time with students and creatively improve your ministry.
Great episode! We’re from the Lancaster PA area, and we’re a group of 4 local youth pastors that decided to work together to reach students for Jesus, and along the way we’ve become great friends. Working together is definitely a mind-shift. We are not in competition, and in fact, we plan small and large group events – one of which is called Merge, where we partner with the local high school FCS club and we come together for a combined youth night at the public high school. Last time we had 10 different churches represented! We also do a podcast together that answers questions our students have about faith in Jesus. We firmly believe in the unity of the church and it’s been so much fun to see how God has been using our efforts to work together, despite our different denominations. Thanks again for this episode! Hopefully those that hear this will be encouraged to have more of a “collective” mindset when it comes to reaching students 🙂