Doing More Than Doing And Actually Growing

As I’m getting ready for my next road race I’m realizing that I’m not doing the best job in regards to preparing for it.  Yeah I’ll be able to do the 13.1 miles but whether or not I’ll have my best pace or finish time is questionable.  I’m doing most of my runs, I could be doing a little more all around training.  I’m watching what I eat for the most part but then again I could be doing a little better in other areas.  Essentially I’m doing what I need to do but not enough to really grow as a runner.
What are my excuses?  I’m tired, I’m preoccupied in thought, I’ve got a lot of things on my plate, yada, yada, yada, etc.  Not that those excuses aren’t legit, but if running is important to me I need to be growing in my knowledge of the sport.  I think a lot of approach ministry with the mentality of do, do, do and forget that we need to grow as well.  There’s too much doing and not enough on growing and if we aren’t growing then we aren’t advancing.  So how do we grow?

  • Grow With God.  I apologize to those who read this blog regularly and may grow tired of me saying this but it always starts with prayer.  If you don’t have a prayer life then you really aren’t going to get fed by the ultimate resource.  And if you aren’t being fed by God then how do you expect to do your ministry effectively.  
  • Grow with your peers.  It’s also important to set aside time where you can read blogs, books, magazines, anything that pertains to your craft.  Iron sharpens iron, seek out other youth ministers who are in the trenches and grow from their experience, their insight, their wisdom.
  • Grow with your coworkers and ministry staff.  Ideally this would be done in a conference setting.  I feel conferences are the best place to grow because they are inspirational, their is a plethora of resources available and you can network like crazy.  They also serve as a great conversation starter to get your ministers and coworkers vision casting.  But if you can’t afford a conference, read a book as a group (i.e. Good to Great by Jim Collins, Purpose Driven Youth Ministry by Doug Fields, 7 Effective Practices of Ministry by Andy Stanley, etc.), buy a conference on DVD, there are plenty of team building resources out there.  But it’s important to grow together.
  • Grow with your students.  I’m not a fan of challenging my students to do something that I’m not already doing, but inorder for that to be possible I would have to be near perfect.  I don’t base the message series that we do on where I need to grow, but if I’m going to challenge a student to pray consistently, I better be working on that.  If I’m telling a teen he needs to give 10% I better be striving towards that goal.  Sometimes the best way to grow is with others and to throw ourselves in the lead.  When we grow with our students with the challenges we throw out at them and we hold ourselves accountable.

There are a ton of ways to grow and it’s something we need to do consistently.  I can’t just write a message, plan a game, organize a trip and expect to do ministry.  If that’s all I’m doing it’s a job.  Ministry means growth and to grow we learn from God, from and with others.
How do you grow?