Who Are You Trying To Fool?

As a father I’m at that point where I need to check my behavior because I’m being watched.  I’ve recently realized that my son is at an age where he not only observes but mimics my behavior.  This realization came to me when I let out a burp and he followed it with a roar that sounded like my burp.  In order to give him the best role model I need to be aware of what he’s learning from me.
As youth ministers we have to be cognizant to the habits teenagers are learning from us.  With that pressure we feel as if we need to be a perfect Christian, but to do that is impossible.  We can’t be perfect in fact if we try to play off perfection it’ll only backfire.  What we need to be is:

  • Honest With Ourselves: There’s a lot of pressure for youth ministers to be something they are not and more times than not we succumb to that pressure.  So what do we do?  We fake it until we make it.  We tell ourselves, it’s all good, it’s fine, I work in a church; therefore, God and I are tight.  But, we need to be honest with ourselves about not having our stuff together.  
  • Honest With Others:  Teenagers are great at sniffing out liars. Teenagers want to know your real story because they want to know that a relationship with Christ is attainable.  If all you tell them is what they have to be, but you don’t share with them the struggle to get there, they’ll give up as soon as they fail.  Your honesty with them about your shortcomings is the encouragement they need to know that anyone…even sinners can have a relationship with Christ.

So, how are you working to be more transparent?  What steps do you take to remain humble?  In order to be honest with ourselves and others we need to make sure we are constantly checking in and receiving accountability from our pastor, spouses and a fellow minister.  
What’s more difficult being honest with ourselves or others?  What steps do you take to be more transparent?

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  • CJ says:

    It is so important to be transparent and real in our relationships. Pretending “all is well” because you are a youth pastor is a recipe for disaster. Having a child really opens your eyes, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing, Chris.

  • CJ parenthood is teaching me more about youth ministry than youth ministry is teaching me about parenthood. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Thanks for the reminder. I resonate with the whole fatherhood thing; I never realized how much teenagers watch what I do until I had a three-year-old mimicking every little thing I do…

  • Benjer,
    thanks for the thoughts, it seems that parenthood is one of the best reminders.

    But for those who don’t have kids, what reminders do you use to be honest, authentic and transparent?

  • Hmm…probably a fellow leader you trust as a friend to give you feedback, not just in how you speak “up front,” but how you conduct yourself just being with the students.