Why I’m Going to Youth Ministry Council

ClaytonThis post comes from Clayton Gladish, associate pastor at Hesston (Kan.) Mennonite Church.

Ministry is about relationships. We say this all the time. As a pastor who works primarily with youth, building relationships is number one on my job description! But if that relational ministry only involves connecting with the young people in my care, I’m afraid that I won’t fare too well. As we all know, our ministries call us into a variety of places as we journey with those growing in their faith. We are called to pour out love and compassion to those often marginalized in one way or another. We are called to teach, preach, and share the Gospel. We are called to visitation, to hospitality, and to generosity. But we are not called to do this alone: we need relationships that build us up in our own lives too!

As I reflect on what it means to be faithful to and responsible with my pastoral calling, I have recognized my need for what I call “ministry peers.” These are people who are also leaders in ministries like my own. Many of these people wrestle with similar issues, experience similar challenges, and have similar questions. Many have tried different solutions, sometimes succeeding and other times not, and have bits of wisdom to pass on. Some measure their ministry experience in years, others in days, but each has something to bring to the table.

The Youth Ministry Council (YMC) is a place where I can see these kinds of relationships growing and challenging me. These are relationships where I can feel supported, where ideas can be shared, and where God can work through others to help me to realize my full potential in ministry. I see these as opportunities to enter into a safe place to share and grow together. I look forward to participating in the YMC gathering in May as a way to continue to grow as a pastor and as a person.

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