The Tricks We Play In Youth Ministry

Courtesy of  stevendepolo/Creative Commons License
I’m not a superstitious guy; however, there are things I do that you might consider crazy.  Here are two of them:

When I Have A Cold: I put together a concoxion called Garlic Tea.  I learned this from a roommate, all you do is boil hot water and pour it over a garlic clove.  Let it steep and then drink away.  I swear it works.
When You Have The Hiccups: You take a Number 2 pencil, place it in your mouth (as if you were eating corn on the cob) and slowly sip a glass of water.  Again, it works, no idea why.
I’ve done these tricks for years and they’ve worked.  I’m not sure if there is scientific reasoning behind them or if it’s a placebo where mind wins over matter.  When I tell people about them they look at me as if I have three heads.  Are they actual remedies or just silly tricks we use to help us through a problem?
As youth ministers we play a lot of tricks on ourselves and others in order to handle conflict, tension and difficult situations.  A few of them are:
THE VANISHING MINISTER ACT
Maybe you have that minister that has become a liability because he or she is messing up, showing up late or just not doing an effective job.  No one really likes to fire anyone, especially a volunteer, so you avoid the situation or you make it difficult.  You pray and hope that God will call them to a different ministry or church.  When it works we think to ourselves, “God is for us.”
In reality the only trick to dealing with difficult ministers is to lean in and address the situation.  When confronting a minister make sure you are:

  • Make A Plan
  • Never Alone
  • Prepared For A Next Step
  • Rely On God

(Just in case you need to fire one)

THE VISION BY OSMOSIS TRICK
If they only did what you said, right?  There are times when we get frustrated because people aren’t aren’t showing up on time and they mess up every set of instructions that you give.  You’ve thought hard about what you want them to do; however, they just aren’t doing it.  You will it from your brain, you could have sworn that they heard you the first time.  You even made a dynamic power point, so what happened?
The problem is you forget that Obi Wan Kenobi doesn’t occupy your ministry.  There are no mind readers, you don’t have a ministry filled with photographic memory; therefore, if you never say it or only say it once, it’ll never stick.  If you want vision to permeate another person’s mind you need to:

  • Be Clear
  • Repeat, Repeat And Repeat

(If you want to get your point across)

THE DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO SPELL
This trick is similar to the one before; however, it has to do with what we are displaying as adults and leaders.  Teens won’t bring their Bibles to ministry because frankly how often do you have it on person.  They aren’t memorizing and quoting scripture because all they hear you spout are the key lines from Zoolander and Anchorman.  They are ripping into their peers with borderline bullying because they see how funny it is when you rip into one of them.  We might be people of authority in their lives but sometimes we don’t deserve that status.  The teens in our ministry see a lot more than we’re willing to credit them for witnessing.  Just because we can be hypocritical doesn’t mean we should try and hide it, because that just looks foolish.  Instead we need to share with them the struggle out there to living life as a Christian.  When we act as if everything is alright we communicate, “Once I’m a Christian life is perfect.”  We need to share with them the struggle, and be authentic.  The next time you prepare a lesson or message ask yourself:

  • How Am I Dealing With This Subject?
  • How Authentic Am I With Others When It Comes To This Topic?

Oh, the tricks we play and how we try to convince our selves that they work.  Ministry is hard and the only way it’s going to get done is by:

  • Relying On God
  • Being Consistent
  • Communicating Clearly
  • Living Authentically

Again, ministry is hard and if we are going to do these things we need to rely on one another, pace ourselves and take it one step at a time.

What are the tricks you see in ministry?