Do you have that friend who always seems a little bitter…you know pessimistic? You ask, “How are you doing?” and they respond, “Things could be better.” They’re constantly griping about being underpaid, overworked and under appreciated? Have you ever wondered if you were that person?
As youth ministers we need to be wary coming off bitter, especially in these areas:
- Volunteers – It always feels like people want to serve in the children’s ministry and not yours.
- Budgets – Why does tech team seem to have the bigger budget.
- Space – You are often bumped to the church basement because the pastor needs his parties.
- Salaries – You’ve been there forever and your salary has hardly grown.
You might perceive it as us vs. them, but most times it’s not. When you are bitter you have to consider three things:
- Your Heart – Is it jealousy, anger, or are you burnt out? Before you react to a situation spend some time with God or an accountability partner who will allow you to safely express yourself.
- Your Communication – Sometimes our heart is pure, but our words are muddy. Instead of giving a compassionate plea of why you need more volunteers, money, space, etc. your words sound needy. Have someone look over your emails, letters and messages to make sure the wording is compelling and not repelling.
- Your Self Management – You might not need the extra resources because it appears that you aren’t using what you have wisely. The only way you will know is if you track what you are given (and I’m talking about ministers too). Not only will this help you be a better steward it can help you show others that your needs are real.
I’m not saying we can’t complain, we just need to make sure when we do that we aren’t damaging our relationships and leadership. We also just have to be aware that sometimes our honest pleas come across in the wrong way. Many times the solution is to just slow down and ask yourself, “Okay, what’s really going on?”
Where else do you see bitterness in ministry?