I’ve always had a fear of heights. To be more specific I can handle flying, but when it comes to a 40 foot ladder, forget about it. I start sweating, my legs are shaking and I do not want to move. I remember when I used to paint houses it took me hours to do what most painters could accomplish in a few minutes. It drove my boss crazy.
Our fears can control us in many different ways. They can slow us down, and sabotage the way we lead others. In youth ministry you can not afford to be afraid to make big moves, to lean in and get a little messy. It’s a spiritual battle and there will be risks you need to take especially when you need to:
- Eliminate Programs: When you eliminate a program you are going to impact someone negatively. Programs and events connect with people emotionally, that’s why people will react in a variety of ways. Before making the decision get feedback from a small group, and work on how it will be communicated. Do not fear the conflict, instead lean in and move your ministry forward.
- Address Parents: Parents can be intimidating, especially if you are not one yourself. Parenting is difficult and a lot of frustration can stem from that. If a parent chews you out or comes at you directly, do not take it personally. Listen for the story behind the story. Look at parents as an opportunity to advocate for your ministry. If they see that you are on their side, they’ll trust you and want others to trust you.
- Delegate Responsibility: In order for your ministry to grow you need to expand your capacity. It can be a scary thing to give over responsibility in certain areas of your ministry. Do not be afraid to let things suffer short term, in order for it to grow in the long term. You might be afraid to hand over the reigns; however, trust that God will bring you the right people.
- Trust The Pastor: If you are afraid to trust your pastor you’ll only struggle working with him. Trusting does not always mean agreeing. Trusting means honoring his leadership and respecting his authority. To build trust work on having constant communication. Do not be afraid to be upfront and honest. Above all else be respectful.
- Go All In: It can be scary to make a commitment to youth ministry. It’s messy and challenging. You might be afraid to go all in because people will question your calling. They’ll ask, “When will you get a real job?” and “How will you support a family?” Trust that God has called you to this journey. When you trust Him that you are in the right place, you’ll begin to see more of how it’s possible to make this a full time vocation.
There will be areas where you have no fear and other areas where you are frozen solid. Remember God has a plan, He has a path and will give you the people and resources you need to make it through. Have no fear, lean in and let God lead you.
How do you overcome your fears?