It's a New Year, which means a new volume of random youth ministry thoughts. We took a month or so off for Christmas, so the notebook is overflowing!
Too long for a tweet, too short for a blog post, here's another installment of 10 (Random) Youth Ministry Thoughts. (To browse the other volumes, simply CLICK HERE.)
- There are times when you simply swing and miss. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve prepared or how dialed in you are. Sometimes, the deck is stacked against you. Don’t take it personally. Hang in there. Next time will be better.
- I believe in youth ministry. I believe the youth worker in the local church has the potential to be a safe-harbor in the tumultuous life of a teenager. I believe when done correctly, that youth ministry has the power to shape faith and lead teenagers closer to Jesus in a uniquely important way.
- The failure to faithfully and earnestly pray for our students is the truest sign that we need to reevaluate our commitment to our calling.
- Doing things the right way is always the best way. Cutting corners may pay off in the moment but rarely result in long term gains. Using staff members, volunteers, or (worse) students to accomplish your agenda is a sure fire way to wipe out any relational equity you’ve manage to earn. Do the right thing. Be above reproach.
- When it’s going really, really well, it’s tough to realize it. Usually we see it only in hindsight. I find myself in the midst of a particularly awesome time of ministry. Things are just clicking. They haven’t always, of course. And there may be a time soon when they don’t. But right now, it’s awesome. I am trying to remember to thank God for it, and enjoy it while I’m in it.
- One of my joys as a youth worker is seeing a teenager with his or her parents, going up to them, and telling them (in front of their child) what a pleasure it is to know their kid and what a valuable member of the group their child is. Yes, it almost always embarrasses the teenager. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what it means to both the parents and the teenager.
- Burnout is real and it’s a ministry killer. It’s also easily avoidable. Healthy habits (spiritually, physically, and professionally), emotional transparency with peers and spouses, and good boundaries are essentials in beating burnout.
- Youth ministry is so. Much. Fun. I’m having as much fun as an almost 40-something youth worker as I did as a 20-something youth worker. I don’t see this changing any time soon. When it does, maybe I’ll know it’s time to call it quits. But judging from the amount of 50 and 60-something youth workers I know having a blast, I think I’ll stick around for a while.
- Just a guess, but I would guess that personal moral failure and poor senior leadership are the two main reasons youth workers find their ministries terminated. Both are heartbreaking.
- I experience seasons where I feel close to God and seasons where I feel a million miles away. I have to remind myself that any felt distance originates from within me and is not caused by God. His unchanging nature means (joyfully) that He is always there. Dry seasons come (or at least they do for me). Persevere through them. The fruitful season is always just around the bend.
I'd love to know which one of these stood out to you as meaningful, or wrong, or thought-provoking, etc. Leave any thoughts in the comment section below.