A few years back I had an appointment to meet with another youth minister just starting out in their church. The drive to the church was an easy drive that should have taken 20 minutes; instead it took 50. What happened?
I left with little margin, I didn’t print directions (I tried to memorize them) and I left my cell phone at the office. Three avoidable mistakes that could have made the entire experience a little less painful. I was late and it was all my fault.
There are many ways we can make mistakes that could have been avoided. Some are caused by rushing, others by inexperience and some because we are lazy. I’ve made a boat load of mistakes, some that I quickly forget about and others that are burned in my memory. But, there are three that I’ve worked hard to avoid, in fact they are three I think we should all avoid. They are:
- Over Promise – As ministers we ride a fine line between selling the program and encouraging people to invest. We over promise because we fear rejection. You don’t have to paint out all your ministry’s flaws but give them permission to disagree if their expectations aren’t met.
- Passive Aggressive Confrontation – No one truly likes confrontation because it’s exhausting; however, it’s more exhausting to spend hours over confronting someone via email or letter. The best thing to do is pick up the phone and arrange a face to face. The conversation will be healthy if you can read a person’s body language and listen to their tone.
- Over Commit – Like over promising we don’t want to disappoint others, so we say yes to too many things. Doing more seems like being more responsible; however, it can lead to irresponsibility. What we need to learn to say is, “No” so that we don’t find ourselves burnt out and overwhelmed.
Again, there are many mistakes we can make simply because we are human. You need to at least make sure that you learn from them, that you have others helping you through them and that you record the experience. The more we can learn from our mistakes the more we can grow.
What mistakes have you made that you knew could have been avoided?