What’s the next thing you need to get good at? If you plan your work around a school calendar like many of us in youth ministry, then a new year is only weeks away. My calendar and invite letter all got mailed out yesterday. But in addition to the youth group schedule, the Confirmation curriculum, and the lock-ins and retreats, I need a plan for getting better at a few things.
Supporting volunteer leaders is one. Learning from parents is another. I have some strategies in mind for improving in these areas, but I could really use a group of peers in ministry to suggest still more strategies and help me evaluate the work.
One of the best experiences of such a peer group I’ve ever had was the Youth Ministry Coaching Program cohort I did in 2011-2012. There were 10 of us from different denominations and church contexts. We learned both practical and theoretical tools for our ministries, some from the facilitator and some from one another. It was one of the most useful professional development experiences I have had in ministry.
I should get in another one of those.
In the meantime I’m organizing one. It will be in Chicago, at the church I serve, and it’s launching this fall. The Synod of Lincoln Trails is behind it, so it will cost less. And it will be led by the same skilled facilitator who led mine seven years ago, the always-learning Mark Oestreicher. It’s open to people working in youth ministry in Presbyterian contexts, and so far it has people from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. There are still spots open.
Whether it’s a cohort or something else, we all need people to help us get better. The time is now.