During our July business meeting, the church authorized our Finance and Youth Committees to investigate the possibility of hiring an individual, or a married couple, to lead our youth ministries. Our Finance Committee was specifically asked to determine whether we capable of paying another staff salary or not, and to decide how much we can commit to. Our Youth Committee was asked to determine what ministry needs a paid youth ministry leader(s) would fill. The position being discussed is for a part-time employee, and there is potential that the parsonage would be offered as a part of the pay package.
We are at an important crossroads in our youth ministry. Last year, we could expect to see as many as 30 kids ranging from four to twelve years old in our Wednesday evening class. This group was led by Melissa Smith and Shelda Shackelford. These ladies did a fantastic job of attempting the impossible! Youth ministry is often referred to as “herding cats” because it is so difficult to get a large group of children all moving in the same direction. The situation we had was made even more difficult because we would often have 6th graders working and studying next to 5-year-olds, with only 2 adults in the room to maintain order and lead these children in Bible study. I want everyone to know how much I appreciate these ladies’ willingness to serve, especially in such stressful circumstances! I also want everyone to know that this ministry model is not sustainable, and we need additional help. We need to make changes this year to ensure that we keep a healthy children’s ministry.
This year, we also have several students moving up to our student (7-12 grade) ministry. We are in the early days of forming a new generation of teens at AWBC, and it is often in these precarious early days when students will stop attending and the youth ministry falters. In the past, these junior and senior high students were merged with our college class. In fact, the college students even changed their meeting time to accommodate these younger students. The developmental differences between a student in 7th grade and one in college seem nearly as vast as those we encountered in our children’s ministry. Lumping these ages together is not advantageous for the junior high students, the college students, or their teacher.
I am committed to meeting with the teenagers on Wednesday nights until a permanent solution is found, but I do not believe that is where I need to be in the long term. As soon as another qualified youth leader takes over our student ministry, my desire is to begin forming deep relationships with the parents who bring their kids on Wednesday nights. I want to host discipleship meetings specifically for these adults, so we can discover how to use God’s Word to transform us into better disciple-making parents.
My hope is that we will be able to hire an individual, or a married couple, who can take a hands-on lead role with our 7th-12th grade ministry while recruiting, training, and supporting our children’s (6th grade and under) ministry volunteers. I would want to find someone who would plan meaningful activities, trips, and curriculum for all these age groups. This one action would not solve all our ministry needs, but it would be an incredible first step in the right direction. We still need more adult volunteers to help make disciples of our children.
I would ask you to pray for these committees as they investigate the current feasibility of hiring someone. Pray for our Finance Committee as they examine our tithes, offerings, and spending to determine what we are able to commit to. Pray also for the Youth Committee as they examine our current ministry and leadership needs. Please pray for me as I lead in this process and pray for the individuals who may be considered for this position. Finally, pray that God would show you how you can be involved in the youth ministries at AWBC! As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.