Discover What’s Beyond The Ordinary

Courtesy of andyarthur/Creative Commons Licenses

I’m a fan of getting up before sunrise to go for a nice run.  5am alarm goes off, I slip out of bed, put on my running shoes, headlamp and head out the door.  I like the stillness of the world that comes in the early morning.  There aren’t cars pushing you off the road, pedestrians crowding the sidewalk and the sun isn’t drying you up.  And, now that Spring is approaching I’ve enjoyed not having to put on layers, just put on my shoes, shorts and  shirt and I go.  There is a lot you see during those hours that one might miss in the daylight.
The other morning as I was running I noticed a little flickering in front of my headlamp.  At first I thought it was a morning drizzle; however, I began to see that it was pollen falling from the trees.  It was beautiful and mystical and then I began to think about the many ways pollen helps and hurts us.  Without pollen we wouldn’t have the beautiful blossoms and new life of Spring; however, we would be relieved of the allergies, and mucus that it will bring.  I’ve always noticed the impact that pollen has in this world, but to witness it falling and moving around me was something else.  Pollen can be something so small and unnoticed despite having a huge impact in our day to day lives.
In youth ministry there is a lot that surrounds us that goes unnoticed.  Some of it can be bad and slowly poisons us, while some of it is good, and if embraced will strengthen us.  But, how is it that we find ourselves, missing out on those small things?  How do we overlook relationships, events and habits that have true significance in our lives?  It’s because:

WE ARE STUCK IN THE ORDINARY AND MISSING THE EXTRAORDINARY

So how do we correct this?

  • Study The Trends – Numbers in our ministry are important because of how they trend.  Attendance and tithing are such taboo subjects in the world in ministry, so many of us reject instead of embrace the power that numbers can bring.  But, if we can’t compare one season to the next, using tangible evidence, then how do we know if we are growing, dying or plateauing?  The more detailed you get with your numbers, the better you’ll understand your ministry. 
  • Take The Time To Listen – You could be doing all the talking, which means you aren’t doing any of the listening.  When we take the time to listen we will receive the truth and feedback we need to grow.  Yeah, it’s easy to listen to your friends; however, we need to step out of our comfort zone and talk to the people who might reveal to us a missed perspective (i.e. parents).
  • Assess Yourself – There are a lot of assessment tools available to us online.  Some help us discover our leadership potential, while others show us how we work with other personalities.  Here are a two that I recommend:
  1. Leader Treks – Leader Style Assessment 
  2. Strength Finder 2.0 by Thomas Rath
    Another place to assess your potential is by networking with other youth ministers and attending conferences.  Sometimes you need an objective voice to show you what’s going on inside and around of you.
  • Fix What’s Not Broke – Sometimes the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” makes complete sense and then sometimes you just need to try something different.  Jim Collins says that, “Good is the enemy of great.” in his book Good to Great.  If we aren’t willing to improve and tweak it means that we are satisfied with being mediocre.  It’s in greatness that we truly grow, it’s being good that becomes stale.  

To become anything but ordinary we need to discover the extraordinary in what we do.  In the end it’s about slowing down and asking God to reveal to us His grace, love and joy.  Unfortunately, we get so caught up in the mundane that we miss out on what can truly push us to success or throw us to our doom.  To be truly extraordinary, you need to look beyond the ordinary.

How are you discovering the extraordinary in your ministry?