Skip to content
Gift Your Graduates 🎓 Grad Packs are Now Available!
Gift Your Graduates 🎓 Grad Packs are Now Available!
The Driven Youth Pastor: When To Put Your Drive Into Park

The Driven Youth Pastor: When To Put Your Drive Into Park

The one thing all successful people have in common can be summed up in two words: drive and determination. That is the analysis of Edward de Bono, the author of the book Tactics: The Art and Science of Success. A determined person is someone who just keeps on trying and trying despite the presence or possibility of failure. A driven person usually tackles the task ahead with a single focus and is able to tune out all the distractions around them. Someone who is driven will usually be determined as well. 

Whatever the occupation, those who rise to the top usually have a good measure of both drive and determination. But what about ministry in general and youth ministry in particular? You will find those who shudder when mentioning goals or success in church work, thinking the terms to be too worldly. At the other end of the spectrum are ministries that thrive on being “successful” and encourage their employees to be driven in what they do. Whatever the approach of your church, chances are that just by the fact you are reading this article, you’re a driven person.

Driven is a word that can be used in both a positive and a negative way. While admiring the success of an athlete or an entrepreneur, we may say that person is really driven to be the best. But if that same person runs into problems involving law enforcement or winds up bankrupt, we may say the problem is they were too driven. The same holds true in ministry. When the youth program is popping and numbers are growing, when students are getting saved and baptized, and the energy around the church is electric, people will say that the youth pastor is one dedicated person. Dedicated is the churchy word for driven. But when difficulties start surfacing due to overwork or family neglect, we point out they were just too driven.

In the book I referred to earlier, Edward de Bono writes that some driven people truly enjoy what they do and know how to regulate their drive, while others develop a ruthless obsession for results. While some churches and ministries push their staff to have more drive and determination, my experience has been that these traits are more inner-linked. When I enrolled in seminary, I was given a very extensive personality profile test. The professor who read the results told me I had a very driven personality. He told me not to change my goals or plans but to learn how to slow down my pace.

Do drive and determination have a place in youth ministry? Absolutely! It is a beautiful thing to see a youth pastor not get discouraged and have the personal discipline to move the youth program into the place he or she believes God wants it to be. 

Can drive and determination get youth pastors in trouble? Absolutely! The Bible says over and over again that the desire for power is one of mankind’s biggest downfalls. Believe it or not, youth ministry can feed that need for power because it can pump up our ego and wreak havoc on our church, our family, and our physical and mental health. These three issues have been the downfall of many, but that doesn’t have to be the case for you. If you can learn to keep your drive in check and maybe even put it in park, you’ll realize that drive and determination can be two of your greatest allies in ministry. 

Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:

  • What do you struggle with the most when it comes to your drive and determination? How have you seen these two things cause problems for you before?
  • What are some of the ways you’ve managed to keep your drive and determination in check so that they don’t cause problems for you or others?

Ready for more articles and training? Check out these top posts!

Previous article Life in the Middle (School)
Next article Drawing Healthy Boundaries In Ministry

Leave a comment

* Required fields