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

Youth Ministry Excuse #7 I’m Afraid

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“I’m afraid”

Yes. We all are. Fear is and incubator for excuses meant to paralyze us from doing anything. Excuses are assassins and they use poison darts. Some darts kill our dreams fast, some slow, and some paralyze us into status quo.

Your fears are many. Fear of

  • trying something new
  • changing something you’ve done for years
  • retiring a volunteer
  • changing camps

and a host of other things you know you should do, but don’t because you are afraid of the backlash from parents, kids, bosses, etc.. This is completely understandable.

Maybe because you’ve moved to a new church hundreds or thousands of miles from where you lived and you are now on a path where the fear of failure makes you throw up in your mouth a little. That’s ok, but the one thing you cannot afford to do is nothing.

So, how do you kill the fear of change before it kills you or worse, puts you in a spiritual coma?

How To Kill This Excuse : Momentum through consensus

I don’t think it’s so much the fear of failing that bothers us but the fear of failing alone that gets to us. We don’t want fingers pointed at us and we don’t want to be the sole reason something did not work.

As the leader, you are in charge and have to figure out ways to move forward with what God has placed on your heart. You have to lead from your convictions. If the church that hired you wants you to keep things the same, they should have hired a monkey to push buttons and flip switches. You are a leader, and leaders lead from conviction.

Changes take time and you do not have to be in a hurry. Love is patient which means God is patient with you and you can afford to be patient, if you are planning to be with your youth ministry long term, to be patient with the people around you.

I was at a church for seven years before I could pull off a weekend retreat that did not involve taking our kids to a statewide event. We had an  amazing time! But it all started with building consensus with kids and parents.

The key to breaking the neck of fear is building momentum through asking key questions such as “What’s the worse that could happen”, ask, “What’s the best that could happen?”, “What would it look like if we did not go to this but did this instead?” Once you have some answers, instead of the nagging, negative ones you tell yourself, you can push forward with a clear picture of the change you want to make.

After you’ve collected all the answers to possible concerns, pitch your ideas for change for something new to the team around you. Include parents and students. Build consensus rather than making wholesale change. Change without consensus is like jerking the steering wheel of the car and making everyone shift without warning. No one likes that.

Consensus building, on the other hand, is like rolling a pebble down a snowy hill and letting it snowball into collective momentum which will make the change happen quickly and smoother.

I have a rule,  I try to include as many people on new ideas and possible changes. I try to expand the ownership of the change or idea way beyond me If I cannot get the ownership, I do not make the change because I am setting myself up for failure.

Being a lone wolf is a last resort and only if the change MUST happen, will I pull the trigger by myself.

Be positive about the new idea or change.

Imagine a snowball of team work and positive energy careening down hill crushing excuses as it goes. I love it! Being positive will smack fear in the face and make it think twice before it rears it’s ugly head again. Putting the positive spin on change will allow everyone to see the possibilities rather than the downside.

Let’s also remember that fear is not a part of our spiritual DNA,

God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind – 2T 1:7

Lead from your convictions not your fears.

Lead as a team not a loner.

Lead with right information and positive energy.

I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that? – Soledad O’Brien

The real thing we should be afraid of?

Making no changes at all.

On to Excuse #8: I’ll Just Quit

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