Does your Youth Ministry have these key relationships?
Life is built on relationships. Influential ministry even more so.
Because we counsel, guide, walk alongside, pour into, invest in, love on, teach, encourage and partner with students, parents and families (whew! We do a lot!) in Youth Ministry on an ongoing basis we will at some point find ourselves dealing with crisis.
When those moments come, you must have a plan to respond. Beyond having a plan, you must know who to contact. When you make that contact, it would be STRONGLY in your best interest to have an already established relationship.
There are four people every Youth Ministry MUST know. This is true regardless of the size of your ministry, the location of your ministry, the style of your ministry, or the context of your ministry. They are also relationships that most ministries ignore until it is too late!
So, who are they? Well, I’m glad you asked…
1. Someone at your local police department.
When something goes wrong and there are legal ramifications, having a relationship with someone at the police department will be priceless.
Now to be clear, I am not simply meaning with something happens during a ministry event. When you find out about something that may be happening within a family, something a student is (or has) done, or some other illegal activity, knowing someone you can trust will help you more than you know.
If you have not already, work to establish a relationship with someone at your local police department. Start by going by and introducing yourself. Just make the effort. It will help you immensely in the future.
2. A trusted biblical counselor
“Christian” counselors are a dime a dozen. “Biblical” Christian counselors on the other hand can sometimes be a little harder to find. You must have a counselor (or a few) that you know and trust that you can refer families to.
Sit down with them and find out where they stand on issues and what their approach is for counseling students and families. Make sure they are not offering “self-help” disguised as “christian counseling.”
Honestly, everyone needs counseling at some point in life I think. You may very well need a counselor for yourself one day. Find and get to know a trusted biblical counselor in your area.
3. Someone with social/family services
Very much like the police, knowing someone with social/family services in your area will help make a very tense and difficult situation easier. Having someone you can call and being aware of the legal requirements for you (especially when reporting an incident you become aware of) is crucial.
4. School counselor(s)
Of all the ones on the list, this one is probably the easiest relationship to build. It is also the most beneficial on a day-to-day basis. This relationship can be a two-way street. As you are finding out and dealing with issues in your ministry that may affect the school counselor, they may also have issues that they could use your ministry’s help with.
Since the largest concentration of lost students in your area at any given time is the schools, the importance of this relationship is magnified all the more. If you have not ever reached out to the counselor’s office at the school(s) you serve, call today and make an appointment to meet with them.
These relationships are crucial to your Youth Ministry’s ability to have lasting influence. They are relationships that we hope we never need, but in reality likely will. Please do not wait to build these relationships. You will be glad you took the time to do so…I promise.
Do you have relationships with these people? Do you see the need to know them? Who else might you add to the list? Leave a comment and let me know.
Photo credit: greeblehaus / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)