I am going to guess that you have not reached point where you do not care about expectation. You do not have the clout or the cash to say, “I don’t care what you think”. Which means you’re middle management. You care about what the people above you think, what the people below you think and what the people around you think. You don’t have a choice, you’re job and relationships depend on meeting expectation. Don’t think so?

Ask your pastor if it’s ok to have only 10 kids visit your youth ministry in a year

Ask you spouse if it’s ok to not bring home a paycheck this week.

Ask your kids if its ok if you never play with them again, because work.

No, expectations surround all of us and we have to meet certain expectations, the question is, how to do it without losing your mind or soul?

A word about expectations, expectations are just someone else’s goals. Expectations aren’t bad, unreasonable sometimes, but not bad. Imagine how you would live if you did not have expectations placed on you. I think it would get ugly fast for most of us. Reasonable or unreasonable expectations are the bars we must reach and these expectations can make us better or drown our soul in anxiety.

Managing expectations, our own and others, starts with proactively setting your own expectations (goals). Managing multiple expectations require you to set goals so you can meet the expectations best you can.

The key to meeting multiple expectations is to be proactive.

Let’s look at the seven expectations you have to meet.

God

God’s expectation are the least complicated. As a believer He wants you to love Him and love others. As a Pastor, and this is where it gets tricky, He wants you to lead others to do the same. God has expectations, but He also knows we are clay and most likely to fail frequently, yet, he does not lower his expectations. His grace is sufficient. You want to make God proud, but he’s already proud of you. You can breath and quit trying so hard to be perfect.

Leading a youth ministry to follow in Jesus’ example is hard because, people. Yet. you have to make gospel centered goals so students know that God dos expect us to live in away that honors him. Scripture guides us, gradually, to grow and to become who God meant us to be which means you can guide students into growing and being too as imperfect as you are. Set gospel goals and then lead others into them.

Pastor

Your Pastor has expectations of you on both a moral and professional level. They expects you to live according to biblical principles and they expect you to take care of a flock of teenagers as well as find more sheep to put in the stall. I am not saying the latter is right or wrong, but I have never worked for a pastor who did not expect me to grow the youth ministry.

I, as well as countless other youth workers, have run into unspoken, and often unreasonable, expectations. Your Pastor is not going to change their expectations so you have to find a way to meet them or find a boss with reasonable expectations. Good luck with that.

Parents

Parents are kind human beings until their child I, in there opinion, treated unfairly or isn’t happy. You are outnumbered. Do your parents all have different expectations of you? Maybe, but they won’t show up all at once. They will come in waves and only when something effect their child.

Once again, expectations are not bad, unreasonable expectations are bad, but you can’t control whether a parents expectations are reasonable or not, you can only get ahead of it by knowing they are are coming, eventually. Once again, proactive goal setting with parents is common sense. They have the money, the authority and they drive their student to youth. If you are not meeting their basic, reasonable expectations, that’s on you.

If you are not meeting unreasonable expectations, well that’s what parent use Facebook for. There is a way to manage expectation and it requires finding out what those expectations are, early and often.

Students

Yes, students have expectations of you, mostly reasonable, unlike their parents. They want you to show up. That’s the basic expectation. Show up and be you. Love them. Care for them. I believe your students also have an unspoken expectation, “Lead me”. Student want to know where they fit in and how they can make a difference and if all you car about is them filling a seat, you’ll miss it.

Once again, if leading students and teaching them to participate in their own spiritual growth is not on your goal list, that is on you and you are missing a valuable opportunity. If you love and care for them, then offer them the chance to be led and to lead and you will meet that unspoken expectation.

Volunteers

Every team of volunteers has cast of characters: The adult that does not want to grow up, the recently graduated senior that has no where else to go so they serve the youth, the nosey mom and the manly-man who is gonna whip these kids into shape. I understand that these are stereotypes, but I’m not far off. I also know that there are more I can mention but will see that for a later post.

The adult leaders who help in youth have expectations of you. They expect you to have a plan and know what your doing and why you’re doing it. The nerve. I have news for you, if you do not have a goal, they will be happy to interject their own and then you are off to the races.

Adult leaders expect you to respect their effort, even if they cannot do what you’ve asked perfectly. These may be the most important expectation they have; they expect encouragement and thank you.

Your Family’s Expectations

Your families expectations are the most important. These will be the people at your funeral. Other than God, their expectation matter the most. I fear failing my family more than failing anyone else and so making sure they were part of my goal setting process was a no brainer.

If you’re in the ministry you’re going to miss a few things because you’ll be away at a camp or retreat or you may have to go to a conference. This is to be expected. Making family goals are a critical part of life on this planet because God gave you this family and He expects you to take care of them. Family must not just be on you radar, they have to be part of the process setting ministry goals, family goals and your own goals.

Your Own Expectations

If you are a pastor, you are a servant. You serve until your empty and dry because you think that is what a servant does; but your personal goals matter to God. Contrary to popular belief, God is not a kill joy. He doesn’t want you to be miserable or to be a martyr.

How much time do you spend thinking about your own goals and expectations? Probably not nearly enough because you’re so busy trying to meet other people’s expectations and you are too drained to think about what you want out of life. I’ve been there and I can tell you, irritations and discontent is not God’s plan for you life.

You are not the center of the universe but you’re not a doormat either. Take time to take that class, start that hobby, finish school, join the club and anything else you’d like to do. God has your back.

If you’ve read this far, you may feel overwhelmed just looking at all the things that are expected of you, and you’re wondering how you’re going to do it. If you’re interested in a healthy goal setting process, I’ve created a seven lesson audio course that walks you through all the different kinds of expectations in ministry and how you can navigate the pressure that comes with it.

Check out my Squad Goals Course below.

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