Change is never easy. Even when we yearn for change it can still be difficult. But, how we handle change is important because it impacts our efficiency and productivity.
Youth ministry and change go hand in hand. Each year you’re saying good by to students as they move on. You are welcoming new generations into your program. Your volunteers, the congregation and even the community around you changes. The question is how do you embrace it and still thrive?
You’ve reached your limit. You can no longer endure. As you drive home after another long night you wonder, “Can I keep doing this? The temptation is to say, “No.” But, is it the right answer?
This past week my pastor and I headed to the NCCYM in San Antonio to speak. We were there to share the Rebuilt story and promote my upcoming book Rebuilding Youth Ministry.
During our time there youth ministers shared with us the challenges they faced. It was a little heart breaking because behind each story was the question:
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:
My first break up was painful. I remember my stomach being in knots, my mind was a blurred and I thought life was over. I remember talking to a friend and they reminded me, “There are plenty of fishes in the sea.” I wanted to smack him. Even though I didn’t think the pain would ever end, it eventually did.
Youth ministry can have periods of pain when you wonder, “Will this ever be over?” It’s in those moments when you consider quitting and question your calling. Ministry in general is emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausting because you deal with lives. It does not take long for anyone to experience some type of a painful situation. Some of those moments deal with:
This past Saturday my family went to Hershey Park. It was a little bit of a risk because there was a huge rain storm making it’s way across the country. For most of the day there was not a single drop; however, towards late afternoon the sky grew dark. We debated about getting on one more ride and in the end we opted for the car. Seat belts on, car started and rain poured. Our timing was perfect.
Timing is everything when it comes to youth ministry. It’s not just what you do, but when you do it that’s just as important. Whether it’s implementing a new program, presenting a new idea or asking for something big, you need to know if your timing is right. While everything new or different will have some push back to deliver it with the right timing you need to: