Welcome back! This is my fourth post in my attempt to convince you that you’re an artist. You may be a youth pastor, a small group leader, a bi-vocational youth worker who does plumbing on the side, or a volunteer youth worker. You are all artists in your own way.
You can read my premise for you being an artist by starting at Real Youth Workers Don’t Starve. This series is based on the book by Jeff Goins called Real Artists Don’t Starve that helps creative people, like youth pastors, embrace the the artist title.
I hope you’ll pick up a copy of the book and read along with me.
Let me clarify my title: Stubborn Youth Pastors, Who Are Stubborn About The Right Things, Always Win.
Stubbornness is not obstinance. Youth Pastors should not be stubborn just to be in the way to be a block to progress. Youth Pastors should be stubborn on principles things and flexible on details.
We all need the ability to persevere and maintain passion for long-term goals despite adverse circumstances—or what Angela Duckworth calls “grit.” – Jeff Goins Real Artists Don’t Starve
We have to be stubborn when it comes to working with teens because, well, teens are stubborn bunch and we must match their stubbornness with a stubborn kind of love.
“No matter how much you miss youth group, I’ll always save a sit for you”
“No mater how much you resist me, I will always be welcoming”
“No matter how much you choose the wrong thing, I will love you and help you choose the right thing.”
This is the same kind of stubbornness parents have with their kids. As youth workers, we should match our teens stubbornness with godly stubbornness. the Bible called this long-suffering.
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed,“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and egracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, Exodus 34:6
God stubbornly, puts up with our mess and loves us still. This is a youth workers kind of stubbornness.
What does all this have to do with me being an artist Paul? Simple, we design programs that give us the opportunity to connect with students so we can show teens this kind of stubborn love long term. We have to be stubborn about the principles of youth ministry, not the details.
Here are a few examples of where my stubbornness comes in when designing any youth program.
I am stubborn about who is on my team
I don’t let adults just hang out (other than parents) because they don’t want to go got Wednesday night service. I they are downstairs with me, they have a purpose or they are not there.
I recently had to tell an adult they could not come downstairs any more because they were avoiding all the parameter set to be a volunteer for me
- Be in the adult service on Sunday for x amount of time
- Be in the adult Wednesday night service for x amount of time
- Go through our partnership class
There are a few other standards we have, but the point is that we have set up standards to first keep students safe from just anyone being a part of the youth program. Second, I want to make sure the leaders we have are mature enough to lead kids into faith, If an adult cannot go through a class, come to service on Sunday morning consistently, they I do not feel they will be a good fit on our program that expects them to lead kids by example.
I am stubborn on discipline
I knew I shouldn’t have let this kid come on the retreat because of his age, but his mother sweet talked me into it; I felt I had to give him chance. I have him Several chances but after having him make a few calls to his parents, I had to ask his mom to come pick him up.
Things like camp, missions trips, and even the weekly meeting only go well when we are all on the same page, or at least in the same book. Sometimes we all have to pull a kid aside, have the talk, and most of them time that settles it. There are other times when we have to make the phone call, send. kid up to their parents, tell a kids “no, I don’t think you’re ready for this.” . All of this discipline is designed to help kids grow in character and faith and secondly to keep the program or trip on track.
Stubbornness like this is a stubbornness that my Pastor, my parents, and even the students appreciate because they know I will do my best to help the kids who need help and make event worthwhile for everyone. A lack of stubbornness on some things, like discipline, causes an unease and a mistrust of our leadership.
I am stubborn on keeping the door open
When a kid leave my youth ministry, its not the end of ministry with that kid. I have launched out students to go to other youth ministries because those youth ministries offered them opportunities that I could not.
These same kids who leave or that I launch, I’ll run into at the store or they may hit me up for advice online. I am stubborn on this because it’s easer to just close the door and pretend like those kids don;t exist any more, but they do and God may not be finished with me and them yet.
We have to be stubborn because the opposite of stubbornness is complacency, weakness, and irresolute. I always want to be stubborn about the things that matter not the details that don’t. We can be stubborn and flexible.
Steve jobs was stubborn on design.
Edison was stubborn on the creating the lightbulb
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is stubborn about the culture he creates.
We are creators and creators but must be stubborn, not about everything, but about the right thing.
When you harness your strategic stubbornness, you give the world a reason to believe in your work. – Jeff Goins Real Artists Don’t Starve
Our stubbornness, about the right things in our youth ministry, will only lead to the right people taking notice and supporting what we create; and isn’t that what we want?
What are you stubborn about in your youth ministry?
Why do you need to be more flexible about in your youth ministry?