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You will never arrive.

I know that thought might be frustrating to you. Week after week, year after year, you’re headed toward some goal, and it is a goal you will never reach. In our calling, you’ll never reach the finish line. Here’s what I mean:

You put together the best 5-year plan ever created. You put into action a strategy to build your ministry on the eternal purposes of God. You had a moment where God showed you where you should lead your group. So you write it out, you take the first steps. You gain some momentum. Things are going great.

In fact, you’re moving from what started as a dream into seeing it actually happen in your ministry. Lives are being changed. It is going better than you ever dared to dream it might. You’re close to the goal. You can see the finish line.

Then … you realize that the area of your ministry that was so strong last year was starting to drift away from the original vision. What worked like crazy two years ago has plateaued. You lose a key volunteer. Apathy sets in, or spiritual dryness becomes commonplace. The amazing group of seniors graduated and the batch of incoming freshman are … well, freshman.

You may get closer to the goal, but you’ll never really get there. You’re not supposed to. You need to be OK with that fact. Youth ministry is about seasons of success, seasons of failure, busy seasons and busier seasons. Youth ministry is good, bad and ugly all wrapped into one. You will never arrive – God’s church and your leadership will always be a work in progress.

So wherever you are today in this cycle of never quite arriving – setting goals, almost reaching your goals, evaluating where you are at or completely starting over – celebrate! Celebrate that God wants you as part of the process and His church. Celebrate that God wants to use you to reboot, retool, relaunch or redo something.

It all keeps you humble, and those are the best youth ministry leaders. Leaders that never arrive.

JG

14 COMMENTS

  • Tom Pounder says:

    Great post Josh. That is very true and it’s a great reminder for me when things do struggle a bit not to be too discouraged but to continue seeking God’s answers. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Art says:

    I am so there right now. We lost 14 incredible seniors this year. Last night’s service went so poorly (in my estimation) that I was ready to quit this morning. I guess I’ll wait until next Thursday to quit. :)

  • Jared Middleton says:

    Great thought. Should we re-brand “goal” or “____ year strategy” to convey to us and our leaders this idea of a continual journey?

  • Travis Williams says:

    Dang it…I thought I was almost there….and I’ve only been at this 2.5 years. I figure we will “arrive” when God calls us home…somedays I hope thats sooner than later :)

  • Becky says:

    Perfect post for today–it was much needed in my life.

  • Roy Petitfils says:

    So true Josh. We all love the feeling of security, of “I did it” that comes with “arriving” or mastery. The endless and eternal mystery of faith calls all of us forward no matter how long we’ve been on the journey.

  • Josh Robisnon says:

    Thanks for the reminder Josh, great insight. It reminds me of when Jesus in Matthew 16:18 said, “I will build my church.” We are finished when we go to be with Jesus. Thanks for the reminder to stay humble and a lifelong learner.

  • Terrin says:

    ahhh a timely message… it seems every fall we are starting over and are very far away from getting “there.” Thanks, Josh!

  • Andy Lawrenson says:

    Thanks Josh. Needed this today. You mean I’ve been doing this for 17 years and I’m nowhere near “arriving”. I hope I have another 17 in me.

  • Tim Klein says:

    This post came at the right time for me. I was just thinking that after 3 years of success everything is going backwards, maybe I’m doing something wrong, or maybe I’m not the right guy for the job.

  • Matt Lawson says:

    Josh, you could not have posted at a better time! Love and appreciate you bro!

  • Shelley Banman says:

    Just when you think everything is great and you feel on top of the world, life has a way of bringing you down a notch or two. Youth ministry is challenging as you go through cycles and it is very sad to see some wonderful passionate youth ministers and workers get discouraged and pull out. People dont’ adapt to change eaisly and don’t like feeling uncomfortable because that is our nature. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing something wrong in your ministry, everytime you work with “people” and new people come into a group the dynamics change and therfore you may have to make changes to ministry more effectively to that group.

  • […] You may get closer to the goal, but you’ll never really get there. You’re not supposed to. You need to be OK with that fact. Youth ministry is about seasons of success, seasons of failure, busy seasons and busier seasons. Youth ministry is good, bad and ugly all wrapped into one. You will never arrive — God’s church and your leadership will always be a work in progress. Read the whole post here. […]

  • […] while back, Josh Griffin had a post reminding us that We Will Never Arrive, that there are goals that we will never complete, that we will never reach the finish […]

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