John was sitting across from me anchored to his warm cup of coffee in the freezing cold Waffle House.
“I don’t know if I can do it much longer.”
When he arrived as the new youth pastor at his very first church, the two burnt out volunteers barely stayed long enough to show him where the key was to the air-conditioner control. From that point forward he was the Sunday School teacher, worship leader, and casually-dressed adult in the student section at the football game.
Through no fault of his own, John had slipped into the dangerous leading man role commonly known as the Lone Ranger Youth Pastor. He wasn’t part of a great “staff team.” He didn’t have a helpful “sister church” down the street. It was John, and that was it. And it was about to kill him.
There are two competing realities here. It is clear that the Lone Ranger approach will not only cripple you, but will be one of the least healthy ways for any ministry to function. At the same time, not many people are at a place where they can hire a great colleague to partner in ministry. Though you may not be completely alone in ministry without any volunteers, there is a limit to the number of times you can adapt an egg toss before you REALLY need to communicate with some other youth ministers to get ideas.
Though a collaborator may not be easy to come by and an extra staff member less likely than finding a live unicorn, a collective might help. You know, a group of veteran youth ministers that are pouring their souls into the same work as you who don’t mind sharing ideas, offering proven tips, and answering a tough question every once in a while.
That is what we want to do here, we want to be a gathering of people who love Jesus and youth and have been successful enough to know all the best mistakes. We want to be your partner in ministry wherever you are by letting you steal the best and worst ideas from our years of experience.
But that’s not all! For the low low price of….
Without trying to be a pitch man for our dreams, we want to be more than a place for random ideas. Ideas are great, but as Wesleyans we have much more to offer the world than one more variation on Chubby Bunny.
We believe that the love-driven, grace-filled theology of John Wesley is not just compelling, but is the most transformative way to understand the working of God in the world. Not only that, its focus on the ever-present grace of God calling us to be more through his transforming love is the perfect lens for this generation of teens.
That is why we not only want to help you have a lot of fun with your next icebreaker, we want to help you live into the richness and depth of Wesleyan theology as a youth minister. We want to give you the tools to think theologically about youth ministry and help you dig a deeper well for the long haul.
It’s a big dream, and an open invitation. We are the Youth Ministry Collective, and we invite you to come along as we sow together for a great awakening in youth ministry.