You may be in a season of ministry when you just can’t help but compare your ministry to other ministries within the church – I find myself in times like this from time to time – and you see yourself getting the short end of the stick every time:

  • The children’s ministry gets priority when using church facilities. You have a hard time reserving the janitor’s closet.
  • The budget leans in everyone else’s direction. But yours.
  • You always get blamed for the condition of the church van. OK, this one is typically your fault.
  • Your stuff never makes it in the church bulletin. And sometimes you get it in before the deadline even.
  • The pastor never mentions your wins. Frustrating.
  • The elder board seems to always mention your losses. Even more frustrating.
  • A part-time person to help you out? Hahahhahahah.
  • It is against church policy when you want to do it. Suddenly it is OK for someone else.
  • Your ideas get shot down, but the golden child always gets his/her way
  • They work 40 hours a week, and are commended for their balance and margin. You’re expected to work 1800 hours this week.
  • Someone leaks how much someone else gets paid. It’s official, you make 40% of the senior pastor’s salary.

Life isn’t fair. Ministry isn’t fair. YOU aren’t even fair yourself. A wise man once said, “When you compare, you lose. Every time.” So get over it. Be above it. Expect it, without playing the martyr. Give what you have away. Rise above the politics. Stop the sick little game. Drop it.



Rebuilding Your Team

 —  November 2, 2011 — Leave a comment

There’s nothing more painful than losing your dream team…or even one dream player. From time to time, you will be faced with a key leader moving away or a right-hand man being moved up to help with a program for adults. It happens — our adult ministry steals our best people all of the time!

So when this happens — you have a few choices to make: (1) you can wallow in the golden years of what was, or (2) you can get to work on rebuilding a young team and see where God takes you. Honestly, you’ve probably done enough of (1) already, so let’s talk about (2). Here we go:

Don’t compare to the past
Rebuilding a team is difficult enough without making comparisons to the past. You are building a new team now — with different gifts, personalities and passions — embrace it instead of focusing on the frustrating differences.

Adjust your leadership to who you have now
The way you led last year probably isn’t going to work anymore. Different people need to be led differently — the pressure to adjust is on you, not on them. Consider giving everyone a personality test or the 5 Love Languages quiz to see what you’re working with and make a real effort to lead in a new way in the new season.

Become the world’s best coach
Maybe one of the reasons you’re lamenting the loss of your teammates is because you had a whole pack of seasoned, battle-hardened veterans and now you’ve got fresh meat. Become the world’s best coach! Constantly push, nudge and challenge your people in the right direction. Before you know it, they’ll be veterans as well…and prime pickings for adult ministry to swoop down for another batch (not that we’re bitter or anything).

Face the challenges head on
Need a pep talk? We got one: You can do this! Keep your head in the game! Don’t run from the challenge! Rebuilding a team is not an easy task. Hang in there! We know that God is going to use you in new ways in the next season.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

If you ever have a disagreement with someone and you want to win, just call them prideful. It’s flawless, because from that point on, anything they say is just their pride swelling up. As long as your the first person to play the pride card, you win, every time.

So say your having a disagreement over the vision of a ministry with someone, they aren’t seeing things the way you see them, just blame it on their pride. Case closed.

I hate that. Because unfortunately, more often than not, the person who plays that card is the one who’s pride is really in the way. Sure, there can be exceptions, but if you play that card, you better check yourself.

I got that card played on me a while back and it infuriated me. There was a real issue that needed to be fixed and is still yet to be fixed because of pride. I knew my intentions and motives going in, and they weren’t flowing from my pride.

But it did get me searching for ways I was being prideful, and unfortunately as a Human being, pride is always to be found.

I take pride in my education. I feel this is a good kind of pride, for the most part, because be it as it may, graduates from my school are sought after more than any other Christian college, and so being able to say I hold my degree from there gives me a bit of a swagger, which can be good or bad.

One of the negative ways it plays out, however, can definitely come out quite a bit. I am blessed to still keep in touch with my old class mates and see them in thriving ministries. It’s amazing to me that some of the guys I was in class with have been able to achieve some of the things they have done right out of college. It’s amazing to me how many went from classes and very little experience to big churches in big cities with established healthy ministries.

Unfortunately, I can often become envious of them. Being in a small town in a small church and seeing several of my good friends with less experience than I have graduate at the same time as me and get job offers from great, large churches, where as I’m having to build in an extremely small town with what sometimes feels as not the greatest support, it can cause me to be jealous.

But I feel like this is something every small town youth pastor deals with. There is this unfortunate myth that small town student ministry isn’t as good, isn’t as important, isn’t as effective. We may not every even outright say that, but if we looked at our ministries, its being yelled.

I could never do that, my church is too small. I could never make a an atmosphere in our youth services that beckons for visitors, I don’t have the resources. I could never plan as great of a camp as that church, I don’t have the time. Whatever it is that you feel you can’t do because of your context.

And though some of it may be true, and some of it may be unnecessary (like how I think it would be awesome to incorporate video’s into our pre-message every week, that’s not necessarily important, nor do I have the time to invest in that because there are other important things to get done.)

So though that may be true, its also false, because there are things we could do, we just aren’t. We have boughten into the myth that our ministry can’t be as great as first united church down the street, so we stop trying those things and get content with what we have.

This is a very dumbed down sentence to describe it, so don’t hold this against me, but the #1 thing that grows any ministry is its leadership. I say its dumbed down because you could come back and say ” Well what about relationship with Christ, or biblical dependency, etc. etc.”

A real leader in a ministry already has that, its a given. But whats missing from that is the leadership attributes such as Vision, Delegation, Mobilization. A real leader in youth ministry will not only be teaching his students the bible, but also the vision of them mobilized to make a difference in their school. A real leader will give their students a purpose that is more than showing up on Sunday or Wednesday nights.

If you want to see your ministry grow, your students need to grow. And if you want to see your students grow, then you need to grow. Continually.

Ben Read is the Youth Pastor of students and their families at West Gate Baptist Church in Trenton, IL, a town of about 2,700 people. He blogs at Small Town Student Ministry.