Is Youth Ministry A Competitive Sport? Part III
In the last two post I have covered being competitive but not in in competition with other churches or youth ministries. Competitiveness is good. Competition is bad. The difference, I believe, is in the heart. I do not wish any harm on any other churches in my area, in fact, I pray for their success. But, if we are down about our group we might be tempted to say, “well, so and so church is reaching most of the kids. I don’t have to do much to improve myself or the youth.” Not only will you not build the Kingdom of God with that attitude, you probably won’t be in your position very long.
Just because a church down the street seems to have it going on at the moment doesn’t mean it always will. Things change,
Cycles change: This time next year, it could be you who has an influx of students, but are you ready to keep them ? In six months a bunch of kids will walk in but do we have anything to offer them? Next week one guest could show up that God wants to use to transform your group but will you spot them?
Youth Workers Change: This is a very Cult of Personality business we are in. That is why some followed Apollo, some Peter, and others Paul. Paul asks is Christ divided? I don’t believe Paul was talking about physically following, but where the hearts of these followers were. The youth worker down the street may leave in a few years and kids may leave and go searching again.
Students Change: We live in trendy world. You can check on Twitter to see what is trending. What is everyone talking about. We can become demoralized when we constantly hear about what is going on at First Church. Don’t be. Students are fickle. They follow trends in youth groups too (worship style, preaching style, etc.) I don’t condone this. If a kid is at a church, saved under that church’s ministry, they should continue in the faith there. But we know this does not always happen. We should be prepared and know that we can’t reach everyone but neither can First Curch. Who is First Church not reaching and decide to pursue them.
The last person (in this series), and also the first person (in real life), you should be competitive with is you. Take a look at how you spend your time. Consider offering a percentage next to each so you can clearly see where that time is going
- Time with student leaders
- Time with adult leaders
- Time with parents
- Time with your pastor
- Time on campus
- Time just hanging out
- Time studying
- Time doing administrative work
I believe time management is one of the top three killers of youth workers. Look at the list. Which area are you having problems in? Is this because you possibly have not invested enough time in that area?
We youth workers believe we have our own competitors. We categorize church, family, personal time, etc. In our hearts we are not competing with those things but with our self, our own values and feelings about those things. If we believe something is of value then we must make time for it. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Please don’t take my blabbering as another emotional beat down on how you are not doing something well or you are not giving enough, etc. All I am saying is we need to name the culprit that is stealing our time, energy, and focus and then deal with it.
Let’s be competitive in our desire to reach students in our community, let be competitive with the things that are stealing the time, attention, and in some cased the hearts of our students, and let’s compete with our own laziness and lack of self discipline that is keeping both our youth groups and the Kingdom from growing.
Runners run for a personal best time.
Weight Lifters compete against their last weight.
Archers attempt to split there own arrow.
We also should set our goals in ministry and compete until we achieve them or get as close as we can. In our work with teens, being our best matters.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” I Corinthians 9: 24-
Let’s always remember what we are competing for is not found on earth but in eternity.
Living The Dream - Paul Turner
I’ve written and re-written so may of these, I have decided to try and sum up my ministry in 6 words:
Loves To See Youth Pastors Succeed.
That’s what I’m about. It’s because of my 29 year love affair with God and my 20 year infatuation with youth ministry that I want help you and your youth ministry succeed. Sometimes it takes one good idea, sometimes a few. If I can help you through resources, speaking, or training please do not hesitate to call and ask questions 205-260-7229, tweet me at PaulTurnerToo, or catch me on Facebook.
I've always wanted to be a youth pastor and minster to teens at all levels. Youth pastors, along with camp counselors, have been my heroes. I have been ministering to students now for 20 years and started a free resource sight called The Disciple Project at www.thediscipleproject.net. Come by and say hello.
I live in Birmingham, AL. with my wife and thee great kids, two of which are teenagers.