You can say it’s not perfect and be correct. You can say its not ready and be incorrect.
This is the big question, right? How will I know when it’s ready?
How will I know when this message will be ready to share?
How will I know when this program is ready to launch?
How will I know when I should change things up?
How will I know if I should become a youth pastor?
How will I know if it’s time to move on?
You don’t. Not entirely. You will have inklings that it’s ready and fear that it is not. It’s possible that “it” will never be ready because we desire perfection from ourselves or others before we put it into the world. This makes me sad.
There is a closet full, a computer full, and mind full of great ideas that will never see the light of day because “it’s” not perfect.
How To Kill This Excuse: Faith and Trust
How did I know it was time to start a Youtube Channel about youth ministry? I didn’t.
How did I know it was time to write a book? I didn’t.
How did I know to start a podcast? I didn’t. Listen to the earlier episodes and you’ll hear imperfect, but I am glad I put out there. Almost five years later, I am ranked the number one youth ministry podcast. I am in the company of some other great podcasts, so be sure to check them out as well.
All of these milestones involved trusting myself and not underestimating the value I’ve accrued over 30 years of youth work and life experience. I also had to not overestimate myself and not “think more highly of my yourself than you ought”. I had to trust in the Lord and in the work He was doing in me and around me.
Moving ships are easier to sail.
God has proved himself over and over again in my life. It’s not Him I’m worried about. I cannot overestimate God. He will “do more than I could ask or think” if I let him. It’s me I’m worried about. Oh, and sometimes my critics.
Maybe this is why you don’t put out your best stuff. You fear that kids, pastors, other staff will look too closely and catch that you are not as perfect we you portray yourself to be; that you shall be revealed as a fraud. News Flash: The critics are frauds too.
Andy Mineo raps that his critics are critics because they couldn’t be artists. Critics don’t produce so they criticize the people who do produce.
I just got back from speaking at a middle school retreat. The weekend and the kids were pretty epic, but my messages were not ready until the day of. I had doubts and more doubts.
I agonized over wording, pace, the right background for the slides, and a dozen other little things. I wanted to make sure the gospel, and the message of the retreat, was made plain and receivable by a middle school student. It wasn’t really ready, but the retreat started at 5:00 p.m. whether I was ready or not.
Nothing is perfect, including and especially, youth ministry. We have kids who do not show up, bail on us, quit following Jesus, and here we are without any thing perfect to show off. Or do we?
Love is perfect. Perfect love casts out fear. We can still love the kids we have, imperfectly, and they will receive it.
Students will forgive your lousy messages, your crazy ideas, your inconsistencies, your insecurities, and your imperfections if you just show up and love them.
So what if it’s not perfect. Quit making excuses and put it out there; it will be worth it and God will take it and do something awesome with it.
Make list of the things that you’ve been holding back on because you’re afraid of criticism or that it’s not perfect. (This can be ministry or personal) Now, pick one of these things to launch and put a date by it and stick to it whether it’s perfect or not.
If you do this, my guess is you’ll get better at not second guessing yourself, increase your faith in God and find that the majority of people will appreciate your effort and will love, or at least like, what you’ve done.
You have my permission, and God’s, to create an imperfect youth ministry.
Now, punch your inner critic in the face and launch that thing.