This Is How You Get Off The Island (Of Desperation)

This is my seventh blog post in a series about Jeff Goin’s new book and my sixth attempt to convince you, the local youth worker, that you are an artist gifted by God to do what you do. You can start at the begging HERE and I highly recommend you buy Jeff’s book HERE.

I’ve had this nagging feeling that I’ve been practicing for some time. Don’t get me wrong, I love youth ministry and the kids I serve, but everything I’ve done over 27 years has be practice for something else. For what? I’m starting to get an idea.

My second youth pastor left youth ministry and I was pretty pissed at him. I thought he loved what he did and he should have loved it forever. Oh the ignorance of youth.

I had been out of Tom’s youth group for some time and was youth pastoring my own youth group across town when I heard he quit or was let go from His church. He later joined my youth team at the church I was serving at (how weird was that?). Soon after he left youth pastoring completely and started working at a pool cleaning company. He’s done that for over 20 years.

Tom still does ministry within the church, but I couldn’t fathom leaving something God called you to for pool cleaning. I though your calling  was for life. I set out to do what I loved (youth ministry) and to never leave until it was time. After 27 years, it might be time, but what’s next?

For the past seven years I’ve been blogging, creating Youtube videos about youth work, making podcast episodes about youth work and selling stuff about youth work. I’ve picked up and practiced a set of skills for the past seven years that feels like school or training for the next seven years. The next “something” I do I’ll be ahead of the game.

Is there something you’ve been practicing over and over and over again that would fit in another niche somewhere?  Maybe, but the next next thing you’re supposed to do isn’t looking for you, you’ll have to go out and find it.

We want to believe that if we do our jobs well enough that the audience will just find us. But that’s not how it works. – Jeff Goins Real Artists Don’t Starve

I believed this until it was almost too late. Thank God I heard a voice several years ago that woke me up that said, “No one is coming to save you.” That scared the hell out of me. I thought it was God or the devil. What I’ve come to believe is that the voice was me warning me that it was to get off my rear end and quit waiting for the rescue team.

Think of Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Tom didn’t idly sit by and think, “well, they’ll just find me if I sit here long enough.” Tom did everything to get off that island.

He made fires so planes could see it

He made signs out of rocks to signal planes

He finally made a boat and went out to look for his rescuers.

Faith without works is dead.

Whether you want to make money or confirm that what you do is what you’re supposed to be doing or to raise a flag and see who salutes it as a way to find out what’s next, your going to have to promote your art, your youth ministry, your blog, for craft, your podcast, etc.

Before art can have an impact, it must first have an audience – Jeff Goins Real Artists Don’t Starve.

Don’t hide that hobby you love. Don’t hide the ministry you do, promote it, be proud of the work you are doing or the art you are creating.

Every congregation should watch/hear updates about your youth ministry in social media, from the front of the church, from your own mouth. I used to be the “Gosh, I’m just glad to be here” while looking down and scuffing my shoe in dirt kind of guy. No more. I am proud of the ministry I do and the kids I serve and the stuff God is doing in their lives; and the rest of the congregation needs to hear about about it in small and big ways.

I want the next 27 years of my life to make an impact, but I won’t if I hide what I love, even if it’s not my full time job (yet)

I encourage you to put out into the world, your work place, your congregation, your neighborhood “that thing” you’ve been doing. If you feel like you’ve been practicing for what’s next, the only way to find out is to take the art you’ve been working on secretly in your basement or on your computer and put it out there for all to see over and over and over again until you’ve built an audience who can confirm your deepest suspicions about what’s next.

If you want to quit starving and start thriving, grab Jeff’s book HERE

Eight post in the series Before Your Earn The Respect You Desire, You Must Do This First 

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