Don’t be afraid to push. Starting off, it can be easy to avoid the tough stuff. We want to build relationships and be the cool youth guy or girl for a while, which is alright. Build your relationships, let the youth get to know you and your style. But, don’t let yourself hesitate to push your teens out of their comfort zone.
Comfort zones are called that for a reason, and it can be easy to put off the uncomfortable nature of team-building, deep faith development, speaking to the group, being in new, unfamiliar situations…and that should be your bread and butter as a youth minister. Lean into it. Amazing things can happen when people are outside their comfort zones.
But, like our last post, there is a flip side. You have to be careful, because these teens are new to you, so your idea of what their comfort zone is might be off. Start slowly, and gradually move forward. The last thing you should be doing as a new leader is giving the youth more than they can handle. I think this is what drives most youth ministers to avoid the uncomfortable good stuff for so long. Just remember that it’s super important, and to start slow. Keep an eye out to gauge where everyone is. You should be shooting for uncomfortable, not miserable. Exposed, but not terrified. Broken down, but not destroyed. There is a balance and you need to find it. It’s a tough job, but you are tough, too.