What I Learned in My First Month of Youth Ministry

Going into ministry was a new discovery as I was coming out of a rough time in my life. Even being raised in the church, I never pictured myself going into a ministry position. Low and behold, God rearranged that come August of 2018.

In August 2018, I stepped into a Guest Services internship with Browns Bridge Church. My whole world changed. No, this internship was not perfect, but it sure was eye-opening. Before all of this happened, I had already stirred up a passion for student ministry because of the music I create. Going around to different youth groups, conferences, and events allowed me to meet a lot of students and even see some come to Christ right in front of me. Incredible. Starting the internship and seeing the world of ministry unfold was the spark I needed to push further towards this new dream of mine.

Shortly after my internship ended in April of 2019, I took a position as a youth director on May 21st at Parkway Presbyterian Church in Cumming, GA. After completing the interviews, and going through the psychological exam, I felt pretty confident that I would get the job, but as soon as I received it, all of my insecurities came flooding in. “Am I equipped for this?” “Am I too young?” “Will they like me?” “Will I have to live up to the previous youth director?”

So I started. Here’s what the first month looked like:

May 21st - Start date

May 22nd - First Wednesday as the NEW Youth Director

May 28th - June 6th - Gone to Israel

June 9th - June 14th - Middle School Camp

June 19th - Students come to see me perform

June 26th - First normal Wednesday back (Student breaks both arms playing basketball)

Needless to say, I was a busy but also exhausted human being the first month of youth ministry, but wow I loved it. The entire time all I could do was thank God for the position He’s put me in. Starting youth ministry was and is an absolute dream come true. After going through the first month, I did learn a few things that I will take with me through the rest of my ministry.

1. Relationships matter more than systems

Going into this position, obviously, I have a lot of goals and aspirations in my head that I want to achieve, but I quickly learned that those goals won’t be achieved unless true and genuine relationships have been established. I’ve already found more joy in building solid foundations with the students then I have with trying to set up new systems. This is not to say that I won’t seek to help this youth ministry grow, but moving forward I know that I can leave that aspect to God. 

2. There’s more to do than expected

As I write this, I currently have a mission trip being planned, a sermon series being worked on, emails being sent out, and that’s just the start. Although I didn’t go into this thinking I’d be bored, I surely wasn’t aware of the amount of work that could be taken on with this job. God has shown me not only that He will provide, but He will sometimes provide more than you’ve asked for (this is a sarcastic joke). I’ve been given the blessing of basically deciding my own schedule throughout the week. Because there’s enough to do, it was imperative that I stay consistent in my work schedule. I once heard someone say “consistency compounds.” That stuck with me. I’ve created a calendar on Excel that I will attach so that you can get an idea of how my week goes. Use it as you please!

3. Reliance on Jesus is, even more, a must in ministry

Teaching week in and week out is a challenge. Some are better at it than others, but one thing remains throughout all pastors: Jesus must be relied upon. As I study Galatians for the series I’m teaching to my students, the main point I’ve come across is, faith in Jesus is everything we need. Nothing more, nothing less. Jesus came to fulfill the law so that we are not bound by it any longer. But with this fulfillment, we can still get stuck in legalism. Galatians 2:21 states “I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” As a new pastor, my struggle has been the question I’ve stated before: Am I equipped for this role? I’ve learned at the right time, God can be trusted. Walking by faith is crucial when it comes to leading in any ministry capacity.

What are your thoughts?

Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at info@natemcgahee.com

God Bless!

Nate McGaheeComment