I just finished my first church position as an “interim” youth pastor which I had done for the last 3 years or so. There were a lot of positives, some negatives during that time, but I figure for my own benefit (I’m forgetful) and for anyone else’s, I would post a few lessons I learned from that experience.
1. Always focus on who’s there.
One of the biggest temptations for anyone in ministry is focusing on all the people who don’t show up and their reasons for it. Heck, it’s not really even a ministry issue. It happens at get-togethers and parties and what-not. It can be easy to mentally engage in figuring out why certain people aren’t there, how to get them there, etc. But one of the realities of any social activity and of ministry especially, is that some people are there. They show up each week perhaps. They listen to your same dumb jokes and announcements. They are living, breathing, images of God who just showed up in the room. And to do ministry, you have to engage them. Ask them questions, take an interest in their lives, pray for their hurts, etc. You may never have that same opportunity to engage that particular human being in the same way ever again. So do it. Pastors have to focus on the group in general, but groups are always made up with individuals. So make sure whatever event is going on, how big or how small that you are connecting with someone. If you do, then a ministry event has occurred, even if it wasn’t on the calendar.