Why Your Youth Ministry May Be Disgusting

I love and hate buffets.  It doesn’t matter if it’s China, Indian, Continental, whatever, I love them and hate them.  I love them because of the many different options from wontons to jello, from frittatas to Belgian waffles, so good.  But, again I also hate them because I always end up putting too much on my plate.  When I eat too much at a buffet I feel like I’m going to explode, as if my guts are going to burst through my belly button.  I don’t know about you but 9 out of 10 times I feel like I need my stomach pumped.  You say, “Chris, that’s disgusting.” but you know what I think is disgusting?
Youth Ministry Buffets
They are chaotic, overworked, tired, disorganized and weak.  When your youth ministry is a buffet it means you are trying to do too much and trying to be pleasing to insiders and/or everyone.  I’m not sure when, but somewhere down the line we all bought the lie, the more I do the more successful I am and the more I’m liked.  It’s a mistake we’ve all made somewhere in our lives, but the truth is that success doesn’t come from busyness and an array of options.
I don’t know about you, but I just roll my eyes anytime I hear a youth minister talk about the million things going on in their ministry as if they’ve got something for everyone.  I don’t look up to those youth ministers because that’s not who I want to be.  I look up to and respect the youth ministers who:

  • Know How To Say No – It’s such an important word.  Youth ministers who can say, “No” are courageous, gusty and prudent.  You have to know what to say, “yes” to and what to say, “no” to or else you are going to find yourself on a crash and burn course.  As a minister you are designed to serve people not necessarily please them
  • Have Purpose – You ever wonder, “Why am I doing this?”  I call those moments lapses in vision.  I love when I’m talking to other youth ministers that speak their vision.  What that tells me is that they know why they are called to ministry and why you should care.
  • Are Focused – Your product is a result of your systems and structures.  Youth ministers who are focused are not only successful but they know how to repeat the success because they studied the culture, the Word, the systems and structures that engulf their ministry.

Churches aren’t meant to be buffets.  In fact just as we were designed with a specific purpose in mind, so were are our youth ministries.  I’m not saying this is easy, but we need to be able to know and embrace our limits.  We need to discern what we are supposed to do and who we are supposed to serve.  To do that look to youth ministers and their ministries that you respect.

What do you respect in a youth minister or youth ministry?

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  • CJ says:

    Great post, Chris. It’s a solid reminder to all in ministry that if we can’t do it with excellence, maybe we shouldn’t be doing it at all.

  • CJ,
    I think the excellence part is key…when it comes to quantity vs. quality there is such a fine line. As youth workers we need to take on risks and certain responsibilities but we need to know at what costs.