When to Report Up

As a youth pastor, as much as you might like to be the one who’s in charge of your church, you’re not. Whether it’s another person in the youth ministry or an associate or senior / lead pastor, you’ve got a boss who directly supervises you.

One of the best things you can do for that relationship is to learn what you should report to your boss and when.

Right about now, you might be wondering: “Isn’t it my job to problem solve? Shouldn’t I be trying to keep things off my boss’s radar?”

Well yes… And no.

Here’s what I mean.

My first year in ministry, I led a mission trip that went horribly wrong. One of our adult leaders said something that deeply offended a number of our students. Those students promptly called home and proceeded to tell their parents what had happened. Before long, those parents called our senior pastor (my boss) and told him what had happened.

By the time we returned home, I’d worked with my team to resolve the conflict. Unfortunately, that part of the story never made it home.

So I arrived home to an irate group of parents and a boss who was ready to fire me for my gross incompetency.

While I’d successfully resolved the conflict on the ground, that didn’t matter because I’d failed to report ANY of it – both the conflict AND its resolution – to my boss. With no information from me, he could do only one thing: Believe the one-sided story he was hearing from the parents.

That botched reporting incident has deeply shaped me and helped me learn what to report to my boss and when to do it.

Nowadays, any time there is a serious conflict in my ministry (especially one that has the potential to escalate), I let my boss know as it’s happening, not just when it’s been resolved. Doing so does three things.

Read the rest of this article here. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and the forthcoming A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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