Did you hear about the guy who cut off both his arms at a Home Depot in L.A..? Police arrived on the scene but did not unholster their weapons. Why not? The man was unarmed.
Ok, that’s my first bad joke of the day but certainly will not be my last.
Youth Ministry does have enemies, but they are not who you think they are.
Youth Ministry is a concept, an idea, a method, and it also happens to be some of our jobs, and yes, calling. Yes, there are idealogical enemies, and alway will be, but we have to work with those who disagree with us. That’s one kind of enemy but they are not the real enemies of youth ministry. These folks are are also not the enemy:
Parents want the best for their kids. That’s it. We may not agree with their choice to focus on sports instead of youth camp, but we have to be good ministers and find ways to support parents in all their choice, even bad ones.
If I had a dollar every time I thought the Pastor was my enemy I could have quit youth ministry a long time ago. They are not the enemy. We are them in 20 years. Many Pastors are generational thinkers. They make decisions based on what they were taught in college or by ideologies longs since proved ineffective. We can’t change that. They may be obstructionist to new ideas, but they are not the real enemy.
So, who are the real enemies of our youth ministry?
Think about this. Have you ever said, “These people are holding back the ministry!” In reality we may be saying, “They are holding ME back.” My success, my raise, my popularity. The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms
Ideas and thoughts that are in conflict with our own, and the personification (the person who holds these views) is who we perceive as our enemy. The only enemy is the pride in our own hearts.
We fear failure. We fear being fired. We fear being seen as incompetent. Many of the conflicts we have are fear based. There is a gun control battle going on in our country. The conflict is fear based. Gun owners think gun control will lead to gun registry and limiting freedoms. Youth pastors (all leaders) fear losing freedoms, our students, our jobs, etc. If we live with and operate out of this fear, it will materialize. I think about Job,
“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” Job 3:25
If we think everyone is out to get us, destroy us, hold us back, and bring us down, then, we operate out of that fear and those who were not enemies, will become our enemies, materialized by our own fears.
In the end, WE are our own worst enemy. We create enemies that do not exist. We become like Don Quixote, chasing windmills. Oh, their is one last enemy.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8
If he can keep us chasing invisible or false enemies, we’ll forget all about him. Good plan.
Here is an excerpt from Seth Godin’s blog I read this morning
“We cure disagreements by building a bridge of mutual respect first, a bridge that permits education or dialogue or learning. When you burn that bridge, you’ve ensured nothing but conflict.”
Do you smell smoke? Grab a hose. Quick.
Where do you see your relational bridges burning? (parents. pastors, etc.)
Are you in a conflict that you do not need to be?
Tell me about your current “enemies” below and how you are dealing with it.