But, we have to be really careful not to take let our youth ministries become an extension of our personalities.
What do I mean? It’s hard to define, but you know it when you see it.
- When all the activities you do as a group just happen to be your favorite activities.
- When you only or almost always listen to music you love.
- When your group’s inside jokes are always driven by your sense of humor.
- When your Bible study methods and/or content reflect your favorite issues/passages/teaching styles.
- When you service is always through organization or activities that are causes you feel strongly about.
- When your core teenagers are shockingly all pretty much identical to you and your personality.
Does this sound familiar? If we’re honest, some of this will sound familiar to a lot of us. It’s impossible to remove your personality from your ministry. And it’s not even desirable. Your personality SHOULD be evident in your ministry. But it’s a matter of degree.
A ministry that is an extension of your personality is trouble for a few reasons.
First, in any group, there are students with all sorts of unique personalities. Our youth ministries have to be places where students of all personalities see themselves in our group. If not, they will feel alienated, or will feel pressure to be someone they aren’t simply to fit in.
Second, if your youth ministry is so completely tied to your personality to where it’s really an extension of yourself−your likes, your dislikes, your personal soapboxes, and so on−what happens when you’re called to another church? You leave behind a ministry that feels so much like you that it’s tough to sustain when you’re gone.
Third, you are a product of your environment and experiences. And although you are undoubtedly a wonderful person with tons to offer teenagers (you ARE awesome . . . no sarcasm here), what you have to offer is still just one person’s perspective. The same goes for me. When our personalities dominate our ministries, we are severely limiting what our teenagers will be exposed to.
Which leads me to the solution . . . What is the surefire way to keep our youth ministries from being nothing more than an extension of our personalities? Simple . . .
We have to make space for other people to lead out alongside us. Even better, make sure they are people whose personalities are different than ours.
And that really is the secret. We have to make room for others to lead with us, and to lead according to their passions and giftings. We have to invite and allow people to have influence over our ministries and the teenagers in them.
Serving alongside others decreases the chance that our ministries will become extensions of our personalities. Are you making room for co-laborers?