I was talking with another youth pastor recently about ministry and being in community, and he said something I won’t soon forget.
“I don’t want to be the LeBron James of youth ministry. I want to be the Golden State Warriors.”
Whether you’re a fan or not, the Golden State Warriors seem to play basketball differently. They have assembled a lineup of all-stars. And they’re better because of it — who doesn’t want to be on a team like that?
In youth ministry, we can try so hard to build our brand, our ministry, and get our name out there that we forget that we’re better together.
There are weights you carry that only another youth pastor can understand. There are problems you face that only another youth pastor can walk you through. Instead of trying to carry the weight of youth ministry on your shoulders, like LeBron James did the Cleveland Cavaliers, try teaming up with another all-star in your community.
You can start by reaching out to other churches in your city. Send an email or make a call to get in touch with the youth pastor. Set up a time to grab lunch or a coffee — take some time to sit face to face and learn their story.
Before you ask any questions about ministry size, philosophy or service flow, find out who this person is.
- Where do they come from, do they have a family?
- What makes them tick, what are their likes and dislikes?
- What are some recent wins that you can celebrate with them?
- What are some hard things they’re walking through so you can pray for them?
If nothing about youth ministry comes up in that first conversation that’s okay! You need people in your corner who understand you before they understand your ministry.
As youth pastors, we also need to continue growing and helping others grow. I believe there are two types of ministry relationships that you need in your city:
- Youth pastors who are further down the road than you are.
- Youth pastors who can look up to you.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in ministry, find someone who is doing it differently than you and learn from them. Bring in some young youth pastors as well; they have new ideas and fresh perspectives. Before you know it, you’ve got a few youth pastors you can invite to lunch one day where friendship and unity can happen naturally.
We weren’t made to live life on an island. God didn’t ask us to build our kingdom. He’s called us to build His Kingdom. We are better together, and together we can see the gospel transform the lives of young people in our cities.
When youth pastors are willing to stop competing against one another and begin competing alongside one another, the church of today and tomorrow wins. When we team up youth ministry all-stars that transcend denomination, size, and background, the world takes notice!
So before the day is done, get outside of your comfort zone, pick up the phone, send that email, or slide into those DMs — whatever you have to do to connect with other youth pastors around you!
To check if there is already an active network of youth pastors in your city, visit nnym.org.
— Danny Tuxhorn
Danny Tuxhorn is the youth pastor at Christian Life Cathedral in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He helps to coordinate a network of youth pastors from around Northwest Arkansas to help them make friendships, grow, and unify for the glory of God. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media @dannytuxhorn.