Welcome to our brand new series- Real Life Youth Ministry! Each week we will be sharing the story of someone doing Youth Ministry somewhere around the world. We all need encouragement in ministry at times. And sharing stories is one way we can encourage others on their journey. The Devil loves to bring discouragement, confusion, and make us feel like we’re not doing a good job or just aren’t good enough to be used by God. But the Bible says,
“And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.” –Revelation 12:11
That’s why it’s so important to share our stories! First up we have the amazing Hannah from Adelaide in Australia to share what ministry life is like for her as a mother and being on staff part-time as a Youth Director. Welcome, Hannah!
Tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up in Youth Ministry.
I’m a TESOL teacher by trade, married to a Filipino & have a daughter called Esperanza. Hubby and I met through youth so it will always hold a special place in my heart and my past! I’ve been on staff with our church family for a few years now, but this is my first as the Director of Youth. I facilitate our team of loving youth leaders who serve on a Friday night or a Sunday morning to see our young people become life-long followers of Jesus. Juggling mum-life and work-life is tough, but rewarding.
What does a typical Youth night look like for you?
Our large calendar items are Friday evenings – 7pm to 9:30pm in the youth centre building of our church campus. Our STORY nights consist of Bible narratives & hands on gear with small group discussion time and supper. Our activity nights range anywhere from a trip to the city for dinner to a life-size version of The Game of Life.
What is something your ministry does well and how did that come about?
Our ministry does worship through music quite well, which is mostly attributed to the dedicated muso team and the raising up of young leaders willing to learn and serve in that area.
Does your husband do ministry with you?
My husband isn’t a part of our youth leadership team in a ‘physical’ sense – he is my support and my sounding-board and catches up with a couple of our male leaders as a support for them too, but he doesn’t actually lead on the team on a week to week basis. So fortunately, once my daughter was weaned, she simply stayed home on a Friday night with him.
Do you have any funny stories to share?
A couple of weeks back, our activities coordinator was trying to get everyone’s attention to explain the opening game. The atmosphere was hyped and people were busy chatting & mucking around, so she let out a shrill scream…little did she know that that whole youth segment was being live-streamed to our youth parent’s Facebook page and there were a lot of people watching! Needless to say, she got their attention alright…!
What was your biggest challenge initially, and how did you overcome it?
This year in particular, my biggest challenge has been juggling mum-duties and work-duties in my new role as my daughter is a little older. I’m not sure I’ve necessarily ‘overcome’ it, but I’m pressing on knowing that God has called me to both those areas, so He will make a way – an ongoing way – for me to do life in both those important roles.
What keeps you going when you’re feeling frustrated, worn down, or just want a night off?
Does Netflix count? Haha! My husband – he’s my biggest supporter & knows how to offer a pick me up (whether it be chocolate or doing the washing) and the knowledge that the precedents we set today and the ministry we establish as we go will one day be for my daughter. I want her to experience what has been so important to me over my life, in hers’ too.
Any words of advice you’d give to others starting out in Youth Ministry?
Don’t look at other youth ministries and think “I wish we had that” or “they do that so much better” – they are NOT your ministry. There will always be bigger and better and faster and stronger ministries, but that doesn’t mean that God is using you and yours any less. Keep going – stay true to your path. He has plans.
–Hannah, Adelaide (Australia)
Photo credit: EBCiYouth