I am thankful for the opportunity to network, pass along CLB youth ministry details and for the opportunity to blog and write on the things that come to my mind that are relevant to our youth workers.

One of the topics that I come back to every few years is the topic of budgeting and compensation. Why? Because I see it as an opportunity to encourage our church family and to pass along the research that I gather in a hope to inform our churches as they plan for the future.

As I name all of this, I realize two truths about myself:

  1. I am not an expert on church health (yet I am passionate for healthy churches)
  2. I am not a professional at research so at times the methods for my research could use some tweaking

Having said all of that, I think that what I have to share is valuable. As I gathered this years’ data and processed it, the following are the conclusions that I came to:

  • We currently have more lead pastors active in their youth ministries
  • There are fewer lay leaders leading their youth ministries
  • There seems to be a mild shrinking in the size of our youth groups
  • Some youth groups have experienced a decline in their budgets and others an increase in their budgets

In addition, in one conversation with one of our pastors, they encouraged me to research the “overall satisfaction and happiness” of those leading our youth ministries

My intent with this post is to take you through some of the 6-7 questions and some of the data gleamed from their answers.

I believe this data causes us to see that over the last 2 years more lead or solo pastors are coordinating or leading the youth ministries at their churches. This point takes us in a few possible directions:

  1. It causes us to be thankful that pastors are investing in their teens
  2. It causes us to ask, “what training could be given to help these pastors?”
  3. It may cause us to ask, “why are the pastors in these roles.”

In addition, the percentage of youth directors seems the same with an increase in full time youth directors

For two years it seems like a few more churches have responded to having youth ministries.

As well, there seems to be less mid-size youth groups with those groups having shifted to the two smaller tiers.

It seems that fewer churches this year named that their budget was on par with their needs and a few desired an increase in their budgets.

Over the last two years there is a mild increase in the way churches are providing for their chaperones and for their purchase of equipment. At the same time, there is a decrease in transportation and scholarships. In addition, the following comments that were given were worth noting. Some use their budgets for outreach, confirmation costs, additional staff expenses and contact work with students.

There is an increase in the number of persons describing their personal financial situation being one that meets their needs. The middle tier category seems to have shrunk while the number of those saying that they are considering other financial income stayed the same. There were a few comments that I’ll pass on as insightful. One person described their situation as “overwhelming” and another as living in a “tough economy” while several named that they may not be able to remain in ministry because of their economics.

Several people named that they spend less that $100 out of their own pocket. Overall lead youth ministry staff seem to be spending less than two years ago with only one naming that they spend over $1000 out of their pocket (they named it as their tithe)

As we wrap all of this up, let me add the following comments that were valuable to have heard:

  • One person said they work 5 jobs in order to lead their youth ministry
  • One person said that they are compensated fairly
  • One person said its been a hard year as their youth ministry budget was cut
  • Multiple persons said that their staff role is in another role but that they have been tasked to lead their youth ministry

Mark 12 says Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

I certainly understand the difficulties that churches have when budgeting. My hope and prayer are that this report serves as an encouragement to churches in the midst of this budgeting season to be as generous as they are able to be.

National Youth Workers Convention Recap