Why have a youth ministry coach?

Submitted by Matthew Wilkins
Associate Rector for Youth and Families
St. Peter’s Anglican Church Tallahassee, Florida
I began my first full-time job in youth ministry right out of seminary.  I was not yet ordained, but I was well on the path to the priesthood.  While I had worked in youth ministry for many years as a volunteer and as a church intern, the truth was that I had NO idea what I was getting myself into. 
I knew that I loved working with middle and high school students, I knew that I loved building relationships, and I knew that I was called to preach and form kids with the Gospel, but that was about it.  I was not at all prepared for the leadership demands that were required of the job I was stepping into.  While much great ministry happened in my first year in terms of teaching and building relationships with students, our church was about to move into a new building with new challenges that I was neither trained for nor experienced enough to navigate on my own.  
As part of my preparation for ordination, my diocese asked that I take part in the American Anglican Council’s Clergy Leadership Training Institute (CLTI).  One of the things that CLTI pushes clergy to do is to find a solid coaching relationship to help continue development in the areas of organizational management and leadership.  This year I began working with two different coaches, one to help me specifically with youth ministry and another to work on my personal development as a leader.
I found both of these relationships to be an invaluable part of my ministry and my personal development. They helped me to live more fully in my calling to build a youth ministry that embodies the excellence of Jesus, and to grow into the best leader I could be for the sake of the Gospel. 
Young Anglican’s Project thinks these coaching relationships are so important that we offer free (yes free!) coaching for youth ministers!  Based on my own experience I can’t encourage you enough to at least explore the possibility of entering into some sort of coaching relationship, not just for the sake of effective ministry, but also for your own spiritual health and well-being as you help grow the Kingdom.