Posted By Kurt Johnston
I once heard an respected Christian leader joke, “I’d love being a Pastor, if it wasn’t for all the people!” Pretty funny joke, actually.
Yet in the often fast-paced, performance-driven, growth-oriented, program-dominated ministries many youth workers find themselves in it can be very difficult to find the time to, or even the value of, keeping people as the primary focus of our energy. I feel like I could write an entire book on the importance of keeping people the priority in youth ministry…but I actually couldn’t because it hasn’t been one of my strengths. While I’m not qualified to write an entire book on the subject, I can share a few things I’ve managed to get right over the years; things that have helped me stick around.
PEOPLE ARE MESSY: It’s tempting to avoid building true community with people in the congregation because people are messy! Ministry is stressful enough without purposely diving into any messes our jobs don’t already require. But here’s something I’ve learned: Nothing builds trust and loyalty in people like their leader’s willingness to share life….the good, the bad and the ugly.
PEOPLE TAKE TIME: It really is easier to do something yourself than to empower and equip somebody else to do it. It’s easier, but it isn’t better! I’ve met youth workers who are genuinely afraid to equip the body for kingdom work because they fear the old “working yourself out of a job” cliche will come true. And it might! But what a way to go! Lone Ranger talent hoarders who insist on being the most talented youth worker in the room are typically a flash in the pan.
PEOPLE ARE WORTH IT: You know, I know it, we ALL know it…so let’s minister like it. Sometimes this little reminder can make a big difference.