During the summers in between high school and college I made money painting houses. My boss was tough. She made me refold drop clothes that were not folded to her standards. Any paint drips on your hands or excessive paint on your brush deserved a scolding. If a room was not prepped properly she would make me do the entire thing over. Again, she was tough; however, it was due to her high standards. She emphasized excellence and made sure her employees embraced that same value. I learned how to approach situations, and projects slowly and carefully. Mistakes were just not acceptable.
Unfortunately, mistakes are imminent. Because of your human nature and the messiness of youth ministry, mistakes are likely to occur. Why do they occur? Some will happen no matter how hard you work and concentrate. Then there are the other mistakes that could have been avoided. The reason you make certain avoidable mistakes is because you:
- Over Promise To Please: No one likes to disappoint others; therefore, the temptation to lie in order to please is strong. The worst thing you can do is to promise something you have no idea how to fulfill. You try to fool yourself into thinking, “I’ll figure it out.” or “God will show me a way.“; but that’s like playing with fire. Make the promises you know you can keep and don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” If you really don’t know the answer.
- Never Build In Margin: When you have margin you can slow down the pace of what needs to be done. Many times when you are in a rush you make mistakes. You forget paperwork for a trip, you stumble through a message or you water down what should have been a memorable experience. When you build margin into your events, trips or programs you give yourself the capacity to do the tasks at a higher level.
- Go Solo In Your Ministry: When you do things on your own you end up putting an unfair amount of pressure on yourself. Even if you are young and quick thinking eventually the work will catch up with you. It will become too much to handle and somewhere you’ll slip. Share the burden with others by delegating and asking for assistance. You will be surprised to discover who will come to your side to help you increase your capacity and lift the level of your ministry.
If you try to avoid mistakes you’ll only find yourself disappointed. Mess ups happen when you take risks, when the movement of your ministry is overwhelming and when Satan attacks. When those happen be sure to guard and surround yourself with God’s love and wisdom. It’s those mistakes that are avoidable that move us in the wrong direction. If you are embracing discipline and proper preparation than you’ll continue stumble and fall.