You should be competitive but not in competition with other churches or youth ministries. Competitiveness is good. Competition is bad. The difference, I believe, is in the heart.
I never wished any harm on any other churches in my area, in fact, I prayed for their success. But, if you’re down about our group, you might be tempted to say, “well, so and so church is reaching most of the kids. I don’t have to do much to improve myself or the youth.” Not only will you not build the Kingdom of God with that attitude, you probably won’t be in your position very long.
Just because a church down the street seems to have it going on at the moment doesn’t mean it always will. Things change.
This time next year, it could be you who has an influx of students, but are you ready to keep them? In six months a bunch of kids will walk in but do you have anything to offer them? Next week, one guest could show up that God wants to use to transform your group but will you spot them?
Youth Workers Change
This is a very Cult of Personality business you are in. That is why some followed Apollo, some Peter, and others Paul. Paul asks is Christ divided? I don’t believe Paul was talking about physically following, but where the hearts of these followers were. The youth worker down the street may leave in a few years and their kids may leave and go searching again.
You can check on Twitter to see what is trending. What is everyone talking about. You can become demoralized when you constantly hear about what is going on at First Church. Don’t be. Students are fickle. Students follow trends in youth groups too (worship style, preaching style, etc.) I don’t condone this.
If a kid is at a church, saved under that church’s ministry, they should continue in the faith there. But you know this does not always happen. You should be prepared and know that you can’t reach everyone, but neither can First Church. Who is First Church not reaching and pursue them.
The only person you should be competitive with is you. Take a look at how you spend your time. Consider offering a percentage next to each of the items list below so you can clearly see where your time is going
- Time with student leaders
- Time with adult leaders
- Time with parents
- Time with your pastor
- Time on campus
- Time just hanging out
- Time studying
- Time doing administrative work
- Time online watching Youtube or Netflix
I believe time management is one of the top three killers of youth workers. Look at the list. Which area are you having problems in? Is this because you possibly have not invested enough time in that area?
We categorize church, family, personal time, etc. In our hearts we are not competing with those things but with our self, our own values and feelings about those things. If we believe something is of value then we must make time for it. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Please don’t take my blabbering as another emotional beat down on how you are not doing something well or you are not giving enough, etc. All I am saying is you need to name the culprit that is stealing your time, energy, and focus and then deal with it.
Be competitive in your desire to reach students in your community. Be competitive with the things that are stealing the time, attention, and in some cased the hearts of our students. Compete with your own laziness and lack of self discipline that is keeping both your youth groups and the Kingdom from growing.
Runners run for a personal best time.
Weight Lifters compete against their last weight lift.
Archers attempt to split there own arrow.
You also should set your goals in ministry and compete until you achieve them or get as close as you can. In your work with teens, being your best matters.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” I Corinthians 9: 24-
Let’s always remember what we are competing for is not found on earth but in eternity.