Learning From The Mistakes of Others
Red Flag List
Here are thoughts to consider as these topics have gotten Congregational Youth Staff and Volunteers in various levels of hot water. Some of which caused the person to become ineffective or some of which caused the person to lose their position altogether.
Your situation may be different. Take it for what’s its worth to you.
Most of the following seems like common sense; however….
1. Always speak positively of the church and the church staff.
2. Be careful not to get drawn into negative discussions about the church or church staff.
3. Have a clear picture of your job and do not stray far from the intent.
4. Refrain from theological discussions outside of youth ministry beyond the basics of the faith…Remember, you are there to minister to young people. You cannot do that if you are not there. Do not alienate or build walls between yourself and Pastors, other church staff, church council members, parents, etc…
5. You do not care what color the carpet is, nor do you care how much money is spent on the organ, or have an opinion about anything other than getting the message of the Gospel across to young people.
6. Be careful about sharing your political views. It will create walls between you and some members of the congregation.
7. Watch your language. Many a Youth Director has been called into an office to discuss their “inappropriate” use of certain words. :)
8. Worship at the church that employs you.
9. Do not regularly attend programs at other churches. Of course, visiting for the purposes of learning can be helpful.
10. Your personal life must be above reproach.
11. Do not criticize, condemn, or complain. Commit yourself to a lifestyle of affirmation.
12. Stay goal not task-oriented.
13. Develop a schedule that includes personal time. It’s okay to tell people you are unavailable during scheduled personal time.
14. Be aware of established church traditions. If a culture needs tweaked, enhanced, or changed, do it over a period of time with the support of church leadership.
15. Decide whether or not to have your closest friends in the congregation. If you decide yes, you will have to constantly be on guard as to what you share. Confidentiality is a must.
16. Have a clearly communicated vision for the ministry.
17. Ask church leadership how they would like for you to handle situations before they arise.
18. Have an “official” system for volunteers, i.e. applications, volunteer manual, training events, etc…
19. Have the church insurance company make the decision concerning background checking and finger printing volunteers.
20. Know the church insurance agent by name. Meet with him/her every couple of years and ask questions. See the Safeguarding section for a list of good questions to ask.
21. Be careful about allowing teens driving other teens. Check with your insurance agent.
22. Have a starting time and an ending time for each event. An ending time is in your best interest for several reasons…including liability concerns.
23. Do not make parents wait.
24. Develop Best Practices by which everyone in the ministry will function.
25. Consider having a personal million-dollar liability umbrella insurance policy.
26. Showing movie clips has gotten many a youth director in trouble. Your standards have to be as high as the strictest parent. Even PG-13 movie clips can get you in trouble.
27. Do not break Copyright Laws for music, showing DVD’s, or movie clips, etc…
28. Really Competitive? Maybe joining the church softball team is not in your best interest. :)
29. Remember to talk about ideas
30. Totally think through overnighters. There are many pitfalls. Remember the old adage, “Nothing good ever happens after midnight.”