Does it sound weird to you that a coffee from Starbucks can do more to impact a student than your latest, greatest idea for a youth ministry program? Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but it’s true.
There is a really good mini-article in this month’s Group Magazine called The Relational Economy that simply sums up a truth that many of us overlook or lose sight of: a relational investment in a student’s life will have 10x the impact of your best program (). This column, written by Ned Erickson, puts it this way:
I just got off the phone with a guy who got some devastating news today. He just found out that his dad has inoperable brain cancer and probably only has 4-6 weeks to live.
As soon as I picked up the phone, I knew something was wrong. I don’t know this guy well at all. We’ve only met in passing. But as he told me about what was happening and described the whirlwind of emotions he and his family are experiencing right now, all I could think of was how helpless I am. I didn’t know what to say, or what to do, or even what to offer.
I started to write this post with some really wordy paragraphs about church growth and ministry strategy but it sounded lame so I deleted it. Instead, let me admit to you what one of my biggest struggles has been.
I struggle with a constant feeling of insufficiency. Why? Because I’m a doer. Because I’m in a position of leadership and far too often I choose to wear the pressure of having to make things work. Because I bought into the idea long ago that if my church or ministry is going to grow, I have to make it happen. We have to have the right people. We have to design the right program. We have to offer the right kinds of events, teaching series, or opportunities. We have to play the right games. You get what I’m saying, right?
Here’s what I discovered a little while ago that I keep coming back to and am only now beginning to understand.
You’ve done it. Sunday morning, you’re late. You’re rushing to get out to the door and get to church. In your haste, you cut yourself shaving. If you’re a man, you’ve cut your face. Women, you’ve cut your legs (or maybe your face…I mean, I don’t know your grooming routine).
I spent several years in Bible college studying leadership and ministry. Countless hours in classrooms learning theology and hermeneutics and Greek and all kinds of other “essential” bits of info. But you know what? Nobody ever told me it’s wise to shave right before bed on Saturday night to avoid fresh scars on Sunday mornings.
The longer I spend in ministry, the more I find out that this isn’t the only thing I didn’t learn about ministry in college. Here are five big ones I learned early on in my ministry career:
- By Jimmy
- September 9, 2014
- Blog,Christianity,Compassion,Following Christ,Leadership,Leadership,Life,Love,Ministry,Pain,Prayer,Self-Worth,Self-Worth,Worldview
I came across this prayer recently. Something about the simplicity of it resonated with me. It’s ironic and profound that the things we would consider to be a burden, the writer considers to be blessings from God. I’ve been praying through this every morning and I hope it will be helpful to you.
Everyone likes to win. No matter how you define it or what it means in your context, winning is the goal. No one likes or wants to lose. Naturally, success would seem like an exclusively positive thing. It feels good to succeed, especially when the odds aren’t in your favor.
If I asked you what your calling in life is, could you answer me clearly? Most people can’t, but the fact that more people than ever are openly searching for their calling is no secret. This search is materializing in a generational increase in “job hopping.” In fact, in a recent article Forbes Magazine called job hopping the “new normal” for millennials. What do they attribute this to?
So while Baby Boomers started working with an eye on gaining stability, raising a family, and “settling down,” today’s young workers take none of that for granted. Instead, as shown by Net Impact’s survey, they are more concerned than their predecessors with finding happiness and fulfillment in their work lives.
It’s not that the search for happiness and fulfillment is new, but what is changing is the number of people who are willing to pursue happiness and fulfillment at the cost of career stability.
But your calling goes deeper than your career choice. Your calling affects your professional life, your family life, your individual life. If you identify your calling, your ability to positively impact your community will increase exponentially.
Here are two simple questions to ask yourself to begin identifying your calling. Your calling may change, so ask these questions often and answer them honestly and patiently.
I’ve been asked by three different people in the past two weeks what advice I have for someone who is tasked with starting a student ministry from scratch. It’s a frustrating, intimidating job. My advice is this:
Pick a school district and make it your mission field. If you don’t already have any students “built in” to your ministry, then you’ve got to go reach some. Don’t go in and beat people with your Bible, but just have lunch in the cafeteria, show up at some football games, get involved in helping with FCA or some after-school activities.
Present. Aware. Focused.
These are words I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Last week I made a commitment to start shutting my phone off for at least an hour each evening. I have to do this to be present. I’m a Twitter junkie, even worse than Facebook or Instagram. It would be embarrassing if you knew how many times I’ve had someone standing in front of me trying to talk to me about something and I’m missing most (if not all) of what they are saying because I’m catching up on Twitter.
I was watching Jimmy Kimmel Live earlier this week because I like his name, and he played this game where he had a guy out on the street and they brought random people on camera and Kimmel had to guess if they were American or if they were a “foreigner.” He tried to do this based on their appearance, their response to some comments that he made to see if they indicated that they understood english, their dress, etc. He looked for clues and based his guess off of them. He was never right.
Then, yesterday, I was reading my Bible in the afternoon and I came across a familiar verse from Romans 12:2: