In yesterday’s post I shared part one of knowing your youth ministries future. How, when, and who solves your problems is a clear indicator whether you will spend your time putting out fires or leading your youth ministry into living out what God has planned for them. Today I want to share is all about our attitude towards God and others.The old adage that our attitude affect our altitude is correct. Bad attitudes are like storms that keep our planes grounded and unable to fly to our destination. Good and proper attitudes are blues skies that signal a clear take off for anywhere we want to go.
Let’s look at three areas that could affect the future of your youth ministry
Our attitude toward God
When I started in youth ministry I was very naïve. I thought everything was supposed to go a certain way and that God was on MY side. I believed the Apostle Paul’s admonition that if God was on our side who could be against us. Well, I found out that plenty people were not on MY side, and in my opinion, must not be on God’s side either. As I discovered, although God was for me. God did not owe me anything. I had to get over myself and my attitude that God owed me a big youth group, success at every turn, and personal favor at all times. My attitude toward God was that if I had a great idea God should bless it because it “was for the Kingdom.’ I was like Peter who wanted to build altars to Moses, Elijah, and Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. I was totally missing the point of what God was doing.
It’s been a few year later now and I have had a few revelations
1. It’s more important that I am on God’s side and not the other way around. Knowing and doing His will rather than mine is more important.
2. Circumstance change but God does not. I have changed churches, changed denomination, but God has remained the same. His plan is to make me more like Jesus and not just my plans for Him.
3. He cares more for the minister than the ministry. all this “stuff” is going to burn up one day and the only thing that will remains is what will be worth saving ”
For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” Psalm 66:10
Our Attitude Towards “The Church”
Like other before me, my struggle with “the Church” or the concept of how church should be was/is an issue. I can’t tell you how many times I have been blasted, called out, chewed out, and plotted against. This is not paranoia, these are things that actually happened. To say I have been let down by “the church” is a gross understatement, but it has been tempered by how many times I have let other down over the year. My attitude towards the church, the community in which I serve, effects the future of the youth ministry.
Here is what church cannot be, for me, if I want to see a bright future for our youth ministry
- Church cannot be my playground- I have a job to do and a mission to accomplish. There are expectations of me and I have to fulfill, to the best of my ability, those expectations.
- Church is not my Sugar Daddy- The church is not there to fund my dreams and goals. The church exists to support one another. I can’t be disappointed every time something does not go my way. I have to plan well so the youth ministry is help and not a hindrance to the over-all mission of the church.
- Church is not my destination – The church (small c) is who employs me, The Church, universal is my community. The Church is who I am going to share heaven with. I can’t, I won’t, I refuse to wrap my whole identity in this smaller community and I choose to recognize Jesus as King of the larger kingdom not just my personal one.
Enough theological bluster. Let’s get practical. If you want to get things done and move your youth ministry forward, adopt the attitude that everyone is on your team. From the janitor to the pastor, consider everyone a teammate instead of a rival.I see everyone as a potential ally not a potential problem. I also make sure that I am the best team mate any other ministry in the church can ask for. Do this, and your youth ministry has a bright future.
Our Attitude Towards Students
As I said with my attitude towards the church, the kids I serve don’t owe me anything. These kids are on loan to me for a short time. This was not always my attitude. I thought the kids I served were in my youth group and showed up to make my plans a reality. In reality, I am present to see what God is doing in he lives of students and create atmosphere for kids to know and experience God and create opportunities for kids to serve God living out what God has called each of them to. Students are not hear to make me look good or save my job. Students are here to figure our who God is in their lives, to figure out what God wants from them, and then find a way to fulfill that. That’s my role and should be yours too, if you want your youth ministry to have a bright future.
Our attitude toward all three areas is summed up by what Paul told the Philippians, ” In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:” Mindset is revealed in our attitude.
How would you describe your attitude toward God? Is it helping or hindering your youth ministry’s future?
How would you describe your current attitude toward your church? Do you see everyone as an ally or an enemy of your plans?
How would you describe your attitude toward your students? Are you predicting the future of your youth ministry with metrics like numbers or programs? What would a change of attitude mean for your youth ministry?