I first met Betty Batey face-to-face in December of 2010. She had transitioned from being a Hospice Chaplain to being the senior pastor of a church that was contemplating closing its doors (rather ironic, I thought at the time). I met with her and her church leadership as they were getting ready to advertise for their next youth minister. I memorialized that day in this blog post. The Youth Ministry Institute has done over 70 consultations with churches in a similar situation. We help the church ask the correct questions and devise the right strategy to hire someone who fits the best.
Betty and her search team chose well. They hired Ian Deane, a United Kingdom citizen, who had been working most recently at a Christian camp in Minnesota. This is how Betty remembers the rest of our interaction with her church, First United Methodist Church of New Port Richey, Florida.
“Our church has been involved with YMI since September of 2011. Our previous youth minister (Ian Deane) received excellent training in the two year course. He was able to use the knowledge gained from the training in leading the youth ministry and its involvement with the entire congregation. His tenure was four years, and was only shortened by his desire to return to his home country. I believe YMI provides critical training for anyone learning how to do ministry in the local church setting. The church used the YMI staff to engage in the search process for a new youth minister in 2015. The staff helped the Staff Parish Committee discern the needs, and goals of the youth ministry to determine candidates for this position. They were able to help us find an interim Summer Youth Director and did a rigorous search for us to locate a new Minster to Youth and Families. Our new youth minister is now enrolled in the YMI program, and he is thrilled with this opportunity to learn that has been given to him. We, as a congregation, are pleased with the comprehensive nature of the YMI program that has not only benefited the youth and families, but the congregation as well.”
By the way, this church isn’t ready to close its doors anymore. They are located in one of the poorest counties in Florida. Yet, they have a rich fellowship that extends to their community and a social service agency called Joining Hands. The youth ministry has grown significantly in five years, bringing vitality and purpose to the church.