i’m guessing most of you have heard about “we love our youth worker” by now. i thought i had blogged about it months ago; but the other day i was looking for that post, and no such thing existed. so here we go!
“we love our youth worker” is a grass roots movement, not a business or ministry organization. it was initially started by friends of mine in england, a couple years ago. after absolutely stunning viral engagement there, some good-hearted youth workers in new england (hmm, england/new england — maybe…) took the lead on bring it here to the states, where it’s just now launching.
we love our youth worker is a covenant, signed (ideally) by both churches and youth workers. churches and youth workers make seven commitments to each other that serve as a baseline for health, longevity, and communication. churches can make it known, during a hiring process, that they have signed the WLOYW covenant; and that say something to candidates who know. likewise, youth workers who sign the covenant are making very specific commitments to their churches.
here are the seven commitments churches make:
We will pray and spiritually support
We will give space for retreat and reflection
We will provide ongoing training and development
We will give at least one full day of rest per week
We will share responsibility
We will strive to be an excellent employer
We will celebrate and appreciate
and here are the seven commitments youth workers make:
We will pray for our church, its leaders and members and our community
We will make our own spiritual growth a priority
We will commit to continued learning and growth
We will take at least one day off each week and vacation time
We will ask for help and share the youth ministry with others
We will strive to be excellent employees
We will celebrate our church’s investment in youth ministry
man, that’s some healthy stuff.
in my work, as you can imagine, i have heard horror story after horror story of churches that mistreat youth workers. and, of course, i sometimes hear stories of youth workers with less-than-stellar practices and communication skills. signing a covenant isn’t a guarantee, of course; but it elevates important communication about expectations.
here’s the endorsement i wrote almost a year ago for the “we love our youth worker” website:
I have found that the single biggest reason for the friction that is all-too-common between youth workers and churches boils down to mismatched expectations and both sides adopting postures of suspicion. My deep hope is that, when churches and youth workers agree to the 7 commitments in WLOYW, both will have a framework for shared expectations, and – maybe more importantly – a posture of support and mutual encouragement. Yes, Lord, may it be so!
i strongly encourage you (whether you’re a paid youth worker, or in some other role in a church, volunteer or paid) to poke around the website. you can easily find the process for accreditation, as well as a pdf booklet, and a powerpoint presentation that will help explain the whole thing.
the youth cartel strongly endorses we love our youth worker, and hope that thousands of churches and youth workers will get on board.