The Youth Ministry Godfather is Mike Yaconelli.

Mike is the embodiment of what a youth minister is and does.  Whenever I am feeling defeated, uninspired  or stuck I turn to Mike Yaconelli, the youth ministry great to give me a jolt youth ministry goodness. Mike’s summarizes the heart and the mission of a youth minister in Getting Fired For The Glory of God wonderfully:

What characterizes followers of Christ is that we tell the truth. I am not talking  about doctrinal truth—I am talking truth Truth: Where we talk about our strengths and weaknesses where we talk about our victories and defeats; where we talk about our successes and failures; where we talk about our answers and doubts; where we talk about our joy and depressions, where we talk about our courage and fear. (26)

Modern YM has turned discipleship into principles rather than a process, activity rather than inactivity. Discipleship has become a commitment that can be measured instead of a relationship that cannot be measured. Discipleship has become a short-term program instead of a lifetime process. (55)

Jesus’ program of discipleship was simple: Hang out with the disciples; let them see you at your best and worst; spend lots of time alone; teach truths that none of your disciples can grasp at the moment; avoid crowds; go slowly; spend hours in solitude; don’t worry about opposition; ignore criticism; don’t expect immediate results. (55)

Mike’s gets it.  I like youth minister’s that track with what Mike is throwing down.  Here’s more:

May God give us a new generation of youth workers, un-intimidated by denominations and institutions, who refuse to be held hostage to paychecks and who believe it’s their calling to rescue this generation from the jaws of a comfortable, compliant, lifeless religion so they can proudly introduce this generation to the unstable, captivation, erratic, wondrous, inconsistent, irregular, noble, and outrageous, glorious life of a disciple of Christ. (67)

Routine deadens our imaginations (139)

Mike, the youth ministry Godfather, requests, in his book Getting Fired For the Glory of God, every youth pastor do these 7 things:

✅ Write into your youth ministry job description: TIME ALONE WITH JESUS

✅ Ask for a book budget that’s separate from your youth ministry book budget.  My top books you need to read now:  Extreme Ownership. In The Name of Jesus: Thoughts On Christian Leadership. The Pastor: A Memoir.

✅ Suggest that the staff get together weekly or even daily for communion to help everybody remember their calling

✅ Find a wise older person who’ll agree to meet with you regularly to help you listen what God is saying in your life

✅ Journal regularly.  I love these tactical notebook.  I was talking to a Navy pilot and he showed me his tactical notebook that he carries everywhere to reflect and to take notes.  This notebook is part of my EDC (every day carry).

✅ Ask the staff to brainstorm ways to increase the percentage of time during staff meetings spent talking about their relationship with Jesus

✅ Suggest that the staff have annual spiritual retreats

These are excellent request.  Why?! Because it keep us, distracted youth workers focused on the mission to reach students for Jesus..  These 7 items stop us from not getting pulled into the church political games and reminds us why we got in youth ministry.

Keep grinding and keep getting after it!