Back in 1995 a postcard awaited me as I began unpacking my boxes for my brand-new Youth Pastor position at Melrose Community Church. The postcard was a simple invite to the Youth Pastor Network meeting Tuesday morning at Mom’s Cafe.
I had barely even met the people in my church let alone anyone else in this town, but I decided to risk and go–if nothing else, I figured the bacon and eggs would be worth it. I walked into the upper floor of the cafe and immediately heard the distinct sound of group laughter down the stairs. “This must be the youth pastors” I thought to myself. The 90 minute gathering felt much more like family than a meeting. At the conclusion of our time, Kirk, one of the guys in attendance handed me his business card and said, “call me anytime in the next week and this card is good for a free lunch.”
I remember saying,”yeah, I’ll check my schedule and see if I can make that happen.” Internally I was rejoicing and thinking, “I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING going on, but I’ll wait at least two days to call…”
Today, Kirk is one of my good friends (and actually works with me at Youthmark). His simple invite was an invitation that has led me to a life-long commitment. A commitment that says that we are better together.
You may not feel you need a Network. In fact, many of you may have a great circle of support already. However, you may be the perfect “Kirk” for a Youth Leader in need. Or perhaps you’re the “Brian” of yesteryear and really do need to have someone surrounding and supporting you.
I have the privilege of being involved in several network circles and two local networks that I coordinate. Though no longer a Youth Pastor, I am heavily involved in Student Ministries. I am excited to serve alongside these great brothers and sisters. The younger among us teach us much about current youth culture, whereas the older among us offer up our mistakes as things to avoid as well or our triumphs as things that may be worthy of repeating.
The National Network of Youth Ministries has existed for many years and is committed to better-networking Youth Leaders with one another. They too believe that we are better together! In order to better understand what is and what is not happening in the world of the youth leader and networks they have put together a survey they’d like all youth leaders to complete. I’d love to help them get the information they need. I just took the survey and it took me eight minutes. Would you support the network in a similar way? Here is the survey!
I hope you’re involved with a network, it truly is a resource, refuge and much more. Know that you have gifts to give and gifts to receive from others! If you have questions about a local network, don’t hesitate to contact me and ask, I can probably point you in the right direction.