‘that the young people in church wont leave’ and 9 other expectations when the youthworker arrives.

My last two posts have created a bit of interest. In each of them I have described and discussed some of the challenges, and solutions to aspects of the line management relationship between Clergy and Youthworkers. What has become clear, in the dynamic of the relationship, in the context of the local church, is that one of the most significant contributor to issues in it is expectations. Quite obviously there are not just expectations between Clergy and Youthworker for the relationship between them, but also thrown into this the expectations that the local church (or churches in an ecumenical project) might also have. So, in the best of traditions, what might be some of the implicit and explicit expectations of the arrival of a youth worker to a local church.

10 Expectations from the Church congregation of the Youth workerImage result for congregation clipart

  1. That the young people in church wont leave.
  2. That the young people in church wont leave
  3. That the young people in church wont leave
  4. That the young people in church wont leave
  5. That new young people joining the youth group wont cause the young people in church to leave.
  6. That the young people in church will now become great leaders
  7. That the youth group will grow, without causing any upset
  8. That the youth group will grow with adding to it young people from the local housing estate, after all, all the young people are the same, they all know each other, and this should be all great mission work.
  9. That the youthworker will be busy during the term time and wont mind using their annual leave to take the young people to soul survivor (whilst parents get a week abroad without the kids)
  10. That the young people in the church wont leave the church.

For those of you who thought I am just being anecdotal or humourous – a recent piece of research from the Barna Group also highlighted that safety and discipleship were top priorities for parents, the full report is here: https://www.barna.com/research/pastors-parents-differ-youth-ministry-goals/

5 Expectations that the Church Congregation have of the Clergy line managing the youth worker

  1. That the Clergy can deal with the youth worker without any help
  2. That the Clergy will not allow this new youthworker to make any significant changes
  3. That the Clergy will ensure that everything that normally happens will now be able to have young people helping at it – thatll be nice
  4. That managing the youthworker wont take any extra timeImage result for clergy clipart
  5. That the Clergy will be able to use their authority to ensure that the youthworker fulfils the congregation’s expectations.


12 expectations that the Clergy have of the youthworker they now manage

  1. That they need little day to day managing
  2. That they will be honest about challenges
  3. That they can start working miracles with limited resources and volunteers
  4. That they wont upset the apple cart
  5. That they will be able to deal with & be satisfied with the congregations expectations
  6. That one day theyll also be in ‘real’ Ministry
  7. That they will give them more time to do other things, as they used to do the youthwork themselves
  8. That they will be able to get the young people to do the ‘odd’ service
  9. That they will be able to reconcile difficult relationship with the local school
  10. That they will be able to inspire the congregation to participate in mission activities with young people
  11. That the youthworker will take responsibility for their own self care.
  12. That the youthworker will be able to keep up and be relevant in every form of technology all the young people are using. Image result for expectations vs reality


10 expectations that Youth workers have being managed by Clergy

  1. They will gain Spiritual insight, direction and be guided by a ‘wise’, gentle hand
  2. They will enjoy having lots of space to get on with things
  3. They will have someone on their side in PCC meetings
  4. That itd be a relief compared to being micro-managed with targets and numbers in the old job at the council
  5. That their new line manager wont change as often
  6. That the Clergy will have lots of time for them, give constructive, wise feedback
  7. That they might be contributors to the churches ministry, vision and strategy
  8. That the clergy might be a shield from the congregations expectations.
  9. That the clergy will stick up for them when they decide to be creative or develop new strategies or approaches for Mission
  10. That they’ll drink alot of tea and eat cake.

Im sure I have missed a few from here, because there are expectations Youthworker have of their role ( ie that the Job is what was presented to them, and they can actually do it), and that the timescalImage result for expectations vs realityes of these expectations are not prohibitive, unrealistic or controlling.

Im fairly convinced though that there is no point talking about clergy line managing youthworkers without also considering the wider community of the church, neither is it to consider the whole dynamic without acknowledging the expectations, and strength of those expectations in all the directions. And thats before there might be expectations from the young people (of the youthworker).
It might be good to have some expectations, rather than none, but suggesting in the role description one thing and actually implying and expecting another could be tantamount to very difficult relationships ahead.

The previous posts on ‘we need to talk about Clergy Line managing youthworkers are here: http://wp.me/p2Az40-Sj (part 1) entitled ‘does a youthworker need to be managed?  and here is part 2; http://wp.me/p2Az40-SP on negotiating the expectations and management relationship.

In a response to this post Jenni Osborne wrote the following excellent piece, on where these expectations come from: https://jenniosborntraining.wordpress.com/home/blog/



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