Doing Youth Ministry In The HOV Lane
Not too long ago, I was traveling to a young adult retreat to speak and the drive was pretty long. As I was driving the speed limit (most of the time . . . OK, some of the time), I realized that even though I knew where I was going, if I was in the HOV lane I would get to my destination quicker. The only problem is that I needed to have more people in the car with me (at least one person) in order to be in that lane legally. This got me thinking: is the same principle at work in youth ministry? Is there an HOV lane we can take advantage of as youth workers? Could we arrive at our God-given destination more effectively if we did ministry with at least one other person "in the car"? I believe that in youth ministry, it's important to do ministry in the HOV lane. It's hard to understate the importance of teamwork, of sharing the journey with someone else. Just as its better to have travel partners on a road-trip, it's better to have capable companions on our ministry journeys. Here's a few reasons why:
It Allows Us To Have Conversation
Driving on a long trip by yourself is OK. But when you have other people with you, there's discussion and conversation. It's the same way when you do ministry with other key people beside you. Instead of going it alone, the discussion about the ministry (what happened, what is happening, and what we plan to make happen) is more fruitful. After all, it's not just your point of view, anymore, but theirs, as well. Having companions on your journey make the trip much more enjoyable and productive.
It Allows Us To Have At Least One Co-pilot
When driving long distances we usually get tired. If we have to drive alone, we'll either have to stop so that we can get some rest, or we'll push through the drive, sleepy and not as aware or as effective as we could be with the proper rest. It's the same in youth ministry. If we're not in the HOV lane because we aren't on our ministry journey with other people, we may get tired more quickly. When we do, we'll either have to stop for rest (which is the best thing to do if you need it), or you we'll push through it. But we all know "pushing through it" in youth ministry is not ideal. We lose effectiveness. However, if you have someone with you it allows you to move out of the drivers seat when you get tired. The other person can drive while you rest, which prevents a loss in travel time. When you have more than one driver who knows where they are going, the journey is much more enjoyable.
It Allows Us To Share Expenses
As you drive on a long trip, you'll have to pay for tolls, gas, and other expenses. In other words, there is a cost associated with the journey. When you go on the trip alone, you have to absorb the cost of the journey yourself. But when you have someone with you, in many cases he or she will split the cost. The expenses associated with the trip are spread out. When you do youth ministry in the HOV lane, and not by yourself, the expenses of the trip will be shared. The cost of doing ministry takes less of a toll on one individual. There are more people to share the burden and the load of ministry.
The picture we see so often in Scripture is ministry being done as a group, or at least by two people (Mark 6:7 is a great example). Too often we try to do it all by ourselves. Get in the HOV lane! Share the ministry journey with others. You might just find you're not only faster, but you're more efficient and effective. Something to think about:
- What does HOV lane ministry look like in your context?
- How would you suggest that a youth leader begin to make the shift if he or she has been doing ministry alone?