Our student ministry had Kurt Johnston teach for us this past month.
(I tried to write that in my best Jon Lovitz impersonation)
TBH – that’s how “the kids” say “To be honest…” – we had Kurt “in house” via video.
Our student ministry has been working through a DVD/discussion curriculum called “Smart Stuff.” It’s a super-practical walk through a handful of key verses in Proverbs.
To my students, Kurt “John-sTon” (that’s how they pronounce his name, over-emphasizing the “T”) seems like a “cool guy,” even though “that random guy in the background” in each video keeps them laughing.
In my world, Kurt’s a great guy who is one of the most generous servants to youth workers. I’ve gotten to know him better over the past few years as we’ve worked on different things together, including this blog. Before that, he was a name on books I saw in Christian bookstores and online.
That’s actually what I want to briefly mention.
It’s okay to use curriculum.
Some of those names on books and teaching materials aren’t trying to get their name out there… they’re trying to serve you.
You know it as well as I do – not every youth worker has the time to spend developing a lesson. In fact, if you have to choose between developing a lesson versus hanging out with teenagers, I’d suggest the latter… especially if you can rely on a quality piece of curriculum to give you some breathing space. Some are even quick downloads for when you’re on the go.
By no means am I advocating that you just copy-and-paste someone else’s stuff all year round, because even the best resources need your edits and adaptations. What I am suggesting is that if you’re a more relational youth worker than you are an epic speaker, play to your strengths. Even if you can teach well, don’t let your ego drive you to want to be the next preaching rockstar at the expense of letting someone else’s gifts shine, be it via video or through materials.
I used to be short-sighted and arrogant about this, assuming anyone who relied on “lessons in a can” wasn’t pulling their weight somehow in ministry. Like I said… it was short-sighted and arrogant. Now, I’m thankful for how many options there are out there for youth workers to feel the grander support of the Body of Christ, including from people who may not ever physically walk into your ministry space.
P.S. As a side note, after our first Wednesday in the “Smart Stuff” materials, my 13-year old son decided to start reading the book of Proverbs… and has been all this month. Coincidence?
P.P.S. No… it isn’t a coincidence. Thanks, Kurt John-sTon.