"We need to get organized around here!"
That is the common cry of youth workers who feel burdened by so much to do in so little time, so many responsibilities and so few results, so much criticism--it seems--so little support.
Paul Borthwick agrees that getting organized is essential for effective your ministry, and he has written an essential book to help those of you in youth ministry organize three different areas of your lives:
Personal: How do your personal goals and your need for personal growth fit with your youth ministry? If you're married, are your spouse and children helped or hurt by your involvement with kids? Are your other responsibilities suffering? As Borthwick says, "Good ministry is the result of a balanced personal life."
Professional: Do you see yourself as a youth "professional?" Is your interaction with pastor and church board characterized by mutual respect? "It's the youth worker who will help other people see youth ministry as a profession and not just a fun-and-games operation."
Practical: Is your budget balanced? Do you frequently begin activities feeling only half-prepared? Do your volunteers and coworkers know what is expected of them? "Better planning and time management can create programs, lessons, and activities that help people grow, learn, and love each other."
Part I of 'Organizing Your Youth Ministry' examines the need to the youth minister to organize his or her personal life as well as ministry, setting priorities, and the special challenges of church youth ministry.
Part II addresses the philosophical foundations of youth ministry organization: Why do we do what we do? What is it young people really need? How do you work with a team? Where do parents fit in?
Part III discusses how to organize the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly administrative demands of the youth ministry, from budgets to retreats, from activities to Sunday school lessons, from choir to missions projects, from discipleship programs to the special needs of junior-high students.
Part IV helps us to evaluate our goals and to measure the effectiveness of our youth ministry -- always keeping in mind that, as Borthwick says, "the ultimate purpose isn't just to produce better programs or a more efficient discipleship system" but to present each person "complete in Christ" (Col. 1:28 NASB).
So if you, like every other youth worker, have too much to do, too little time to do it in, and sometimes don't know where to begin, 'Organizing Your Youth Ministry' can help. Give it a try -- and you'll find out why Paul Borthwick says that organization can be a ministry in itself.
"Borthwick comes back repeatedly to this theme of Organization, which forms the basis for effectiveness in ministry. Biblical principles are carefully and accurately applied...up-beat practically...fascinating reading, without a dry or dull page throughout!"
Ted W. Engstrom, former president of World Vision
Paul Borthwick is senior consultant for Development Associates International and teaches missions at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. He dedicates himself to mobilizing others to world missions through a speaking, writing, and resource ministry. Previously he served for more than twenty years on the staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts- -- first as youth pastor and then as minister of missions. He is the author of 'A Mind for Missions' (NavPress), 'How to Be a World-Class Christian' (Victor), and several other books and Bible studies.