Back in January of 2006, I was coasting through my last semester of college. Everything was all set: I’d graduate in May and get married in August, but there was one big issue…
I didn’t have a job lined up.
I was home for winter break when I got an idea.
I setup an appointment with the pastor of a local parish – arguably the most wealthy parish in the diocese. I knew the budget was there, but they hadn’t had a youth minister on staff in almost 10 years.
During that meeting, I convinced the pastor that they NEEDED to hire a full-time youth minister – and since I needed a job, that youth minister should be me.
I was so excited about the new job, that I missed all the warning signs. So excited about my new full-time salary, that I failed to really talk through their expectations. So excited about my ridiculously big budget, that we never even talked about the vision of the parish or the youth program.
I was so excited, that I didn’t even realize I had talked my way into a TERRIBLE JOB.
The next 2 years at that parish were miserable – the teens were amazing, but the job was definitely not. No matter how much I was able to grow the program, I was still having to convince the pastor (and other parish leaders) that they really did NEED a youth ministry program. I felt like every week, I was having to explain to someone why they really did NEED a youth minister.
My ministry wasn’t seen as important. I wasn’t valued for what I brought to the parish.
I constantly heard things like:
- “The teenagers are a problem in this parish that we hired you to solve.”
- “You need to clock 40 hours per week at your desk. If you want to hang out with teenagers, you can do that on your own time.”
- “We don’t need to spend money on that. If you were a good teacher, you could teach anything with nothing but a brown paper bag”
Yeah, I still don’t get that last one. But what I did get – what became painfully obvious – was how alone and isolated I was in my ministry. My parish wasn’t able to support me. There was no one there to build me up. No one to celebrate the wins or share in the lows.
I left that parish (and almost ministry altogether) because I didn’t fee like the work I was doing was important. I didn’t feel like I mattered.
We started ProjectYM because we never want anyone else to be in that situation. We started ProjectYM because we never want youth ministers to have to question if their ministry is important – or if they matter.
Over the years, we’ve been able to serve THOUSANDS of youth ministers – loving them, equipping them, and encouraging them. We’ve been able to fund that ministry through creative projects and products, but the needs of youth ministers has now out-paced our funding…
And we’re not ready to stop.
We believe that God is still calling us to more – to serve more youth workers in more ways and in more places.
Our mission, our heart, our passion is serving youth ministers, because we believe that youth ministers matter. If you believe that too, click the link and make a donation.
Or at the very least, help support our ministry by sharing the fundraiser with the people in your life that you know support youth ministry.