Don’t Waste Your Time With Originality

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I’ve found myself in front of my computer screen trying to reinvent the wheel.  It’s kind of like a writer’s block but then again it feels a little worse.  There are times in ministry where we try to start from scratch or create something from nothing only to find ourselves stuck.  The problem is we’re trying too hard, because we feel the need of bring something new to our students and ministers.  It’s this competitive nature to be unique and original.
And while there is nothing wrong with trying to be original it can put us in a stand still.  What we need to do when we find ourselves in these situations is look to where we can ADAPT, BORROW and COPY other ministry’s ideas.
This idea of doing what the other guys do is nothing original. Here are three areas where borrowing, adapting and copying can help you out of a bind:

  • In the Message – If you think about it we’re never original with what we are teaching or preaching because at the center of it all is Jesus Christ.  If your strength isn’t in storytelling then use a story you’ve heard before that best shows the point.  Or if you have a hard time laying out practicum, then look to what other youth workers have done with the same subject.  If we try to be too original in these circumstances we could risk bending and alternating the truth.
  • Games/Activities – There are a lot of great games and activity ideas that are worth repeating over and over and over again.  In fact some of the best activities are ones you’ll find other churches doing.  I’ve worked on an activity for days thinking it would be the most profound and mind blowing activity only to find the teens bust through it in 15 seconds and ask, “What’s next.”  Borrowing another ministry’s activity idea means you are using something with a history of success.
  • Systems and Structures – Every youth ministry should have it’s own unique characteristics; however, to have a ministry that is totally original is somewhat impossible.  Unless you are trying to start your own religion, your ministry is going to be based on Christ.  You might have one that focuses more on fellowship, worship or evangelization; however, never be afraid to learn from other ministries that share your identity.  If you do this you’ll discover transferable principles that will help you grow.

While originality has it’s benefits it can lead us into frustration and even a self centered mindset.  When adapting and borrowing ideas from other ministries be careful to ask for permission and not take full credit for an idea that is not fully yours.  In fact one of the beauties of this industry is the amount of men and women willing to share what’s in their cup and give it to someone else.  After all we are all in this together.

What are some game/activities you’ve borrowed from other youth ministries and found success?

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