I was listening to Jeff Goins’ podcast The Portfolio Life and he asked cookbook author Sonja Overhiser about how she writes here cook books, she said,

” I try to think about the kitchen the other person is cooking in and their range of experience (rookie to veteran) I am writing to”

This is such good advice. When I write, I try to think about your “kitchens”, your meeting spaces (I’ve featured a few here) but I also try to think about your budget, the kind of boss you might have, the ministry system you’re working in and the goals you have.

When I was a younger youth pastor, I complained about my “kitchen” when I should have focused on the food. Just like the kitchen doesn’t make the food any better, our stuff (meeting space, technology, etc.) doesn’t make disciples, share the gospel, encourage hearts, etc. Yet, many youth pastors complain they do not have a more sophisticated kitchen to cook in.

Here’s my encouragement, stop focusing on the kitchen and focus on the food. You can have an amazing kitchen and be a lousy chef. The kitchen doesn’t make the chef just as the youth space doesn’t make the youth pastor. You can have an amazing kitchen and be a lousy cook. Facilities are an illusion. 

Some of the best places I’ve eaten have small kitchens (like Food Trucks, etc) and not a lot of fancy equipment and they’re creating amazing food.  

You don’t need a $1600 blender to make a great smoothie. 

You  don’t need a $1700 grill/burner to make great hamburgers.

Yet, we say things like, “If I just had… then the ministry would grow”. Some things are true, we need good adult volunteers, we need the gospel, we need the Holy Spirit, and we need good leadership skills. You have all of these things in some measure. If you do not, you can develop it.

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.            Psalm 34:10

I’m not saying that wanting a cool youth space or cool tech toys is bad, but too often we want these things because, quite frankly, the “food” is lack luster. So many youth ministries have great facilities and are half empty. If a cook says, “I don’t have a kitchen like Gordon Ramsay, so how can I even compete? ” That’s an excuse for not starting or even attempting to do great things. It’s also a sign of fear that you don’t believe you can cook.

All the youth ministries in your area have a “kitchen” but not all those youth workers can cook like youYou have a specialty, a signature dish, something you do that no other other youth worker can do, stop comparing “kitchens” and cook your best meals, preach your best message, organize your best outreach and students will come around to eat what you’re cooking. 

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