I’m reading Stephen King’s book on writing and it is inspiring. King, like all good writers who submit their work for publication, received multiple rejection letters for the stories he submitted to magazines. He started to receive so many rejection letters he put a nail in the wall and hung his letters of rejections, like badges of honor, on it.
The rejection letters kept pouring so much that, in King’s words.
“I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing”
This is resistance. This is tenacity. This is persistence. This is “bring it on”.
King new he was on to something and he eventually received a letter that said,
“This is good. Not for us, but good. You have talent. Submit again.
This is all it took for Stephen King to keep writing, and the rest is history.
What do I draw from this?
Ministry is filled with rejection. Plans and events that don’t work or don’t even get approval. Students move on from your youth ministry because they don’t like it or they no longer want to pursue spiritual growth.
Jesus was rejected more times than he was accepted, but He wasn’t chasing acceptance.
If you want to stay in youth ministry, you’ll have to do three things.
Look at rejection differently
Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur who says, “Fall in love with losing”. I don’t know if I love it, but I’ve learned to appreciate it. Rejection hurts but you have to love the game so much you are willing to take all the L’s to appreciate the one W.
You can take rejection personally and obsess about “Why don’t they like me” or “Why don’t they like the youth program or the church or you can build a youth ministry for teens who are looking for the kind of youth ministry you do.
You can’t please everyone, so don’t. Jesus said, “Follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men”. Jesus did not change the program because the Rich Young Ruler told him no.
If you’re building a youth ministry that seeks to make disciples, you will be rejected more than you will be accepted but you’re in good company and the rejection isn’t aimed at you.
“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Luke 10:16
Change your nail for a spike
To really win at anything you have to have grit. You have to be able to stay at it knowing that the hits are coming. Like a running back trying to get one more yard but seeing he’s about to get smashed. One yard on third and long is game changer. Hang in there, build resistance and exchange your weak nail for a tough spike so you can get that last yard and a first down.
“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”
― Angela Duckworth
Hang on to the positive
I was in a call last night where someone thanked me for my contribution and called me “articulate”. This compliment is from someone who does not know me but rest assured I’ll file that comment in my brain the next time I question my ability to communicate clearly or try to put two sentences together that make sense.
Church life can be tough especially if you’re church is filled with negative people. You have to, as my youth pastor used to tell me, “Fellowship with the strong and minster to the week”. Surround yourself with positive people, even if it means with people outside your church. Hang with people who feed your soul and recognize your gifts.
I’ve been writing, seriously for 20 years. It started with writing Bible Studies for songs with a company called Interlinc. I began blogging about 15 years ago and there are some terribly written article there that I am going back and fixing. Point is, I never stopped writing. I may pause, but I will not quit because I want to hone my skills so I can communicate the need for doing great youth ministry, entertain in the process and do it with conviction.
You have to keep at whatever you’re doing. I am persisting at writing you have to be persistent in offering the best programming, reaching lost kids and keeping students growing in their faith.
Keep your outcome in mind. Use the end game as motivation to get better at whatever you choose. Why is this so important to you? Is it worth the rejection and the pain? If the answer is yes, it’s time to upgrade to a spike.
It’s possible you need a bigger spike in the form of coaching. If you want someone to encourage and equip you with exclusive one on one sessions twice a month, with a price that fits your budget, you can click here.