I’ll say it again. I do not believe in competing with my brothers and sisters in Christ. It is not my group vs theirs or my calling vs their calling. We are not called to be competitors but rather to be competitive. In this blog we have to ask ourselves why we have to be or stay competitive in the youth ministry market place. I know this sounds carnal, but it is not meant to be. It is a fact of our lives. As long as churches make productivity, number of students, and the size of program the goal, I plan on staying competitive in my Kingdom work because my job (what I am paid for) will depend on it.
What are we really competing with? A students attention is focused in so many different direction we can hardly keep up. Consider why some of your students missed your last meeting
- family time
- a club meeting
- another organization
Every youth meeting faces these challenges. These are things we cannot change and most of them we don’t need to. But there are reasons students miss our meetings that we should be concerned about:
- We start late
- We seem unfocused
- We don’t have a vision
- We don’t invite kids to something deeper or a bigger cause than support the meeting
- We aren’t creative with our programs or messages
- We are boring
- We don’t insist or train students own their youth ministry or care about others
I have been all of these in the past 20 years and students rightfully stayed home. There ball team had more clarity. Their math club was more interesting. Their coach was more inspiring. We compete with all these things. Taking time to examine all the parts of our program, our skills and abilities, our leaderships, and our hearts will only lead to making the changes necessary to stay competitive and being our best for the Kingdom.
I believe this old adage serves us well, we should pray like it’s all up to God and work like it’s all up to us. I believe we have to rely on the Holy Spirit to produce anything good. If we try to produce ministry in the flesh we will corrupt it, but if ministry, creativity, productivity, and excellence come from the Spirit there will be fruitfulness.
How can continue to be our best?
- Take an online class in a subject that will help you
- Read books in various disciplines outside of youth ministry (business, theology, politics, etc.
- Attend seminars in things besides youth ministry like social media, social justice, business and education
- Volunteer at places that are not necessarily Christian organizations
- Get out and talk with people unlike ourselves by joining hobby clubs or cause clubs (meetup.com)
- Substitute teach
We can either whine or shine. Those are our options. If you do not believe we are in a competitive market, just ask the other youth pastors in your area to “loan” you some of their kids for a few weeks so you can build up your group. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Anyway, I know there will be some who still think I am off base but this is the elephant in the room at most youth pastor network meetings. We are all very supportive of each other until it starts to effect our bottom line. Do I wish things were different? Yep. Is the system we work in going to change anytime soon? Nope.
So, until the model changes, we should all continue to love and pray for our youth pastor friends, help where we can, support when we are needed, and sacrifice when we should for the betterment of the Kingdom.