Just about a week ago, I achieved a first in my tenure in youth ministry and my (much less illustrious) acting career by portraying a zombie (with considerable help from a friend and former student who is quite adept at stage makeup). The title of the night’s message was How to Survive a Zombie Attack, with one of the points being that just as banding together in the face of such an event increases your chances of survival (and carries other benefits), banding together with other believers increases our chances of surviving and thriving in our faith. We can build each other up, help each other up when we fall, share resources and knowledge, give and receive companionship… the list could go on and on, I’m sure.

Why tell you all that? Well, the same principles apply to youth ministry, and let’s be honest; sometimes ministering to youth feels like trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. The good news is, the benefits of banding together are the same. Other youth ministers can help you up and encourage you when you feel beat down, or feel like you’ve failed. (If an outreach or event you’ve planned hasn’t fallen on its’ face or blown up in yours, just wait; it’s coming.) You can also gain valuable skills and knowledge; sharing mine is the heart behind Ten Years Young. But don’t just read this blog; take a look at the blogroll and check out some other youth pastors and workers sharing what they know. In other posts, I’ve talked about “doing life” with the people you minister alongside. Read some books about the subject (I could recommend several). Amazon.com and Half Price Books (brick-and-mortar and online) are a great way to save some money on books, and HPB online is great for older books that have gone out of print or are generally hard to find. If you have the time and money, conferences can be a great way to learn from great minds, connect with others, and gain different perspectives on issues you are facing or will face.

Bottom line: Don’t go it alone or try to do it yourself. Share the work, and the journey.