Giving youth pastors the tools they need to make and shape disciples.

Weighing Your Waste

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I spent two days with my son at a camp recently. Spending time with and being a counselor for 100 5th graders was an experience in itself. Something that impressed me, but also irked me were the meal times. The food was good but the process of clean up was so tedious it was almost maddening; but there was one feature that caught my attention and that was the weighing of the left-over food. They weighed the waste. It was pretty cool on multiple levels:

1. It showed kids how much food they were wasting in any given meal. The first weigh in was 8 pounds among 100 kids.

2. The waste included orange juice and milk because it came from living things

3. They challenged the kids to decrease the waste at each meal By the end of the weekend we had reduced our waste to 2 pounds. Pretty good, considering the finicky-ness of 5th graders.

This experience got me thinking about how much money, time, and resources, I’ve wasted in youth ministry over the years. Some would argue that their is no waste in youth ministry, it’s all of value,  but I disagree. Think about your last few events. How much did you spend? Was the outcome worth cost? How do you know? Take how much you spent and divide it by how many kids participated. Now, if it was a paid event, like a retreat, and it was a wash, then it’s even. The events I am focusing on are the vents where we throw the Hail Mary event and hope for the best. So, how do you measure your waste? Take these four areas and throw them on the scale.

Time We all do this. Whether it’s Angry Birds or if you are like me, Empire Avenue lately. What should be on your scales?

  • face time vs social media time with kids
  • office time vs personal interaction time
  • serving time vs relaxing time
  • reading/study time vs t.v. time
  • phone calls vs e-mails
  • student leaders vs the new kids

The list can go on, add yours in a comment section of the post. We waste a lot of time rather than investing time where it counts.


As I said earlier, we waste a lot of money on events and stuff, that does not work. Try a personal budget audit. Look at the last few events you had, and see if they were pluses or minuses. Then compare them to last year, if it is a yearly event, were they pluses or minuses? Take stock of the curriculum you bought. Have you used them? Were they effective? Throw it on the scale and make some changes.

People  Capital

This is an important item to put on the scale. How much man power capital have we wasted because of personal conflict, inner turmoil, prejudices, and other factors. Are we wasting our own time because we are not investing in others? What goes on the scale?

  • Pastor Capital
  • Board Capital
  • Your Team or Youth Team Recruitment Capital
  • Congregation Capital
  • Community Capital

Each of these are resources we could be ignoring and it could be a waste of our time and of the personal capital we own. In other words, do you find yourself working too hard because you are unwilling or unable to use your relationship time more effectively. Most of my problems can be solved with a 10 min phone call. But if I don’t make those calls, it leads to hours, days, or months of wasted time managing the problem vs solving it.


I am in the midst of  a youth room make over. I don’t like wasted space, so I am trying to fill it with usefulness. Do you have couches where a cafe could go? Do you have old equipment where a counseling are could go? How often do you use your youth hall or gym? Once a week? Once a month? How much of that space is wasted? What new ministries could you start (not run) to fill that space? Our motto should be: No Space Put To Waste.

Step On The Scale and Take The Poll





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