Ps Kareena is the Youth Pastor of Next Gen Youth  in Tatura, Victoria. She has been youth pastoring in Tatura for the past 3 years, leading a significant country youth group that reaches far beyond just the town they are in. She has great insight and experience into leading a country youth ministry of influence.

Longevity in Country Youth Ministry

In a country youth ministry it’s easy to lose vision and feel isolated. Things may look different in your youth ministry in comparison to a city youth ministry and the distance can make you feel distant and disconnected. I believe these are the two main reasons why youth pastors in country areas may find it challenging to stay strong for the long haul. They’re the greatest lies you could buy into! However, I want to discuss some ways to fight those lies and stay strong personally and make an impact in your regional area.

  1. Know your vision

God has called you to lead your youth ministry. There was a moment in time when God spoke specifically to you and put the dream in your heart to reach teenagers in your area. It’s easy to lose sight of your purpose and calling as a youth pastor. Firstly, before everything else you need to know the vision God has placed in your heart for your region. When tough times come and you want to give up, what God has said will keep you moving forward.

Secondly, it’s very easy to start talking to other youth pastors and start comparing. What are they believing for? How do they run their small groups? How many people attend each week? What size and how do they run their leadership team? Sometimes with a genuine heart to improve our youth ministries, we can be quick to change things to look like the youth ministry down the road or in the city. Before long, we are implementing new systems, structures and teams without first hearing from God himself. God knows the right next step for our youth ministries. Instead, absorb as much inspiration as you can from other youth pastors, then sit on it and pray. It’s important to hear from God before you move because it doesn’t do anyone any good if your youth ministry is based off good ideas, not God ideas. Your youth ministry will have a different flavour to others and that’s completely okay!

  1. Stay connected

Isolation is a real thing. You can be surrounded by people yet feel isolated inside. This is why especially in country areas, it’s important to stay connected. There are many people I would recommend to connect with as you live out your season in youth ministry.

Senior Pastors –If you have a youth ministry in your church then that means your senior pastors also have a vision to reach teenagers. Your pastors will have a wealth of knowledge to pass onto you and so long as you stay connected, you will learn a lot. They will be one of your greatest cheerleaders and will be able to give great insight when you don’t have all the answers.

Regional Youth Alive Leader –Our regional leaders are there to support and encourage us. Take the time to meet with them regularly to talk about how youth ministry is going. Be the one to reach out to them and schedule in a regular catch up if you don’t already.

Attend Youth Alive Events –Attend every event you possibly can to connect with people doing what you do. Youth Alive holds numerous events during the year so you can meet other youth pastors from around the state and nation. Don’t take these opportunities for granted, make them a priority in your life. At these events you will meet people who will support you in your greatest challenges in ministry and also ones who will inspire you to continue pursuing greater things. At these events, always get peoples details so you can give them a call. You then have the opportunity to network outside your small bubble and make plans to communicate with one another.

Despite being in the country, you are not alone and you have been called. Have people around you who will constantly remind you of that on the days you don’t feel it. There’s a specific purpose that your youth ministry is fulfilling and you’re smashing it! So write down those things God is showing you about what your youth ministry looks like and stay consistent with it. Don’t give up! The teenagers of your region are relying on you. Make connections and stay connected to those who will encourage, challenge and inspire you!