My favorite movies growing up consisted of some form of Karate. I loved the never say die attitude in them, the fighting and the sound effects. One thing you learn quickly in martial arts movies is that you “Never Give Up, Never Surrender.” While this makes for a thrilling movie, it’s not consistent with life, especially in ministry. Many pastors take these unrealistic expectations with us into ministry. We bring a refusal to give up or trust anyone mentality with us into ministry.
When I say “give up”, I’m not trying to get you to quit your job. I mean doing your job better. I mean giving up on your ego and trusting God. It’s a better way of doing ministry when we trust and know Jesus. Here’s a few things I’ve given up on in my three years of doing youth ministry.
1. Give up on changing students lives’
Realize that it’s the Holy Spirit that changes lives and not your words, actions, or power. I’ve spent much of my young ministry trying to be the difference maker. I thought if I phrased things perfectly or spent enough time crafting my message that it would change lives. In reality, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to change lives… not yours. If I’m not connecting with Jesus then I’m trusting my own power, strength, intelligence, ideas or words to change students’ lives. This is a lonely road that ends with many youth pastors trying to grow their own ego, quitting when they see little fruit, and moving on to something else.
2. Give up some of your power
Empower your people! I know it will take a lot of time and training, and sure, they won’t do it as well as you (or so you think), but you need to trust them. Ministry can’t be done alone and sometimes an effort you deem as “B team” is actually better for your ministry. It gets people bought in, and gives your ministry multiple voices. When people are bought in, they will devote more to a ministry. Multiple voices are needed for your ministry, and I don’t just mean from the “pulpit.” When people are invested it gives them a fulfillment and you shouldn’t hold back that joy from people.
3. Give up your need to be “right”
This mentality infiltrates every area of your ministry. You work with students, and guess what??? This means they are going to make mistakes. How you love and guide them through this has a profound effect on the rest of their lives. I find myself being too judgmental and not showing grace or love often enough. We love to hit students with rule following, but how do we show grace?
Needing to be right, hinders our ability to listen when others are critical of our ministry. That parent or other staff member might be right… It hurts our pride when we’re wrong and often we take it personal when others are critical of our ministry, but what if they’re right. If you don’t always need to be “right” then you might get some valuable information for your youth ministry. I’ve been guilty of getting so fixated on doing ministry my way that I’ve missed out on opportunities to grow.
Giving up takes confidence in what Jesus is doing in you and your ministry. You have to be able to hear God’s voice in it or it can wreck your self esteem. All of that said, it’s a better way of doing ministry. It requires you to find the gifts of those around you and bring them out. It means not getting offended by the fact that someone in your ministry might be better than you are at something. It means loving others enough to give them a shot. If we never give up, we’ll never see what all God can do through us.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/BrandonWeir.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Brandon Weir is the Student Pastor at The Fellowship Round Rock near Austin, TX. What does Brandon love? “I love my wife Jules, my dog Ranger, Texas Tech, being outdoors, the Texas Rangers, camping, hiking, reading, Torchy’s Tacos and I love me some Jesus.”