YOU STINK!

 —  August 9, 2013 — 4 Comments

 

I don’t like to admit it but there are a lot of ministry “things” at which I’m not very good….Correction; there are a lot of ministry things at which I just flat out STINK! And sadly, just because I stink at certain aspects of ministry doesn’t mean they somehow go away. Wouldn’t it be cool if God said, “Hey you, since you are horrible at X, I’ll just keep X away from you and the ministry you lead.” I don’t know about you, but if He did that for me there would be more stuff taken away from my ministry than left in it!

Because I stink at lots of ministry stuff, I’ve had to develop a three-pronged approach over the years:

1) Be okay being below average at some things.  I’ve simply had to “settle” on the reality that there are some things I’m never gonna be good at, and lower the expectations I put on myself to perform at a top level in those areas.

2) Selectively learn some new skills.  And while I’m learning to be okay with just being okay at some things, I’ve also picked a few key areas at which I stink that I think are worth learning to be good at. I can’t learn to be good at all the stuff at which I stink, but in my case I was SO BAD in a few key areas that I simply had to learn the skills necessary.

3) Surround myself with smarter, more talented people. I’m completely okay not being the smartest or most talented person in the room in most cases…especially when the topic or task involves an area at which I stink and I’m not willing to learn to get better at it. Giving these areas of ministry away to others frees me up and allows people to use their gifts to make our ministry better; a win-win!

Guess what? You stink, too!  In fact, you stink really bad at some stuff that is vital to the success of your youth ministry. And for some of you, it’s hard to admit.  So I’ll get the ball rolling in the hopes that some of you may be willing to share your “stink” in the comments section. Who knows, somebody who’s really good at it may be able to help you out.

MINISTRY STUFF AT WHICH KURT JOHNSTON STINKS (Note: This is just a partial list; actual list is much longer)

- Remembering names.

- Reading and sticking to a budget.

- Keeping track of registration forms or checks handed to me by a parent.

- Not using sarcasm to make a passive-aggresive point.  But if I may brag for just a moment…. I’m REALLY good at using sarcasm to make a passive-aggresive point.

- “Turning the corner spiritually” with students in one-on-one conversations.

- Returning emails, texts and phone calls in a timely manner.

Let’s get the comments going….share a tip for me….share something you stink at….share a tip for somebody else!

 

MTDB1I know when you see this type of topic it’s more about being a great follower of other people like the head Pastor’s vision or leadership in general, which I think is great, but I also believe that at the core of a great leader is a great follower of Christ.  I’m always reminded by the Apostle Paul who followed Christ to his grave that the better I follow Christ, the better I lead.  If you read about Paul’s life you will see that his goal was to follow Christ with everything. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Pursue being a follower of Jesus and the impact of your life and leadership will out last you and carry over into eternity.

So in order for me to lead well I must pursue a greater lifestyle of following Jesus. There are definitely more, but here are a five ways we as leaders continue to allow Christ to lead in us and through us.

  1. I seek GodMatt 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. My focus should be on knowing him and not on what I can get from him. The more I know him the better I’m able to follow him. I’m a better leader when I spend time with God.
  2. I allow Christ to search and change my heart - In order to fully follow Christ there must be a continual cleansing and changing of the heart. The bible says in (Jeremiah 17:9) the heart is desperately deceitful and wicked. David knew that and wrote Psalm 139:23-24 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. I hear people say “just follow your heart” or “the heart wants what the heart wants”, but God says it’s deceitful and wicked. Sometimes we make decisions apart from God’s word being led by our hearts and we end up doing harm to ourselves and to those we are suppose to be leading. So allow Christ to search and change your heart so that you’re leading by the word of God and not on the impulses of your heart. Allow God to replace your corrupted heart for one that beats for his guidance. I’m a better leader when I understand the importance of following God’s word above all else, even the heart.
  3. I allow the teachings of Christ to lead me - Psalms 25:5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.  Followers of Christ are called to care deeply about exemplifying the teachings of Christ in their own life first. The more I learn and understand the teachings of Christ the better I’m able to apply them to my life on a daily bases, and also allow what I learn to lead and guide my decision making. I become a better leader when I allow Christ to lead me.
  4. I allow Christ who lives in me to lead through meGalatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. The life of a follower of Christ is a person who continually allows Christ to lead. God wants to do amazing things through each of us, but we must allow him to work through us and that will take us dying to our plans and allowing his plans for our lives to live. I become a better leader when I allow Christ to lead through me.
  5. I allow his wisdom to lead meProverbs 3:6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

We become better leaders when we devote our lives to being great followers of Jesus Christ. What would you add to this list?

hope it helps

ac

 

 

 



Greg from Dare 2 Share (who I’ll be interviewing later this month here on the blog and in the SYM Today) sent along a quick note to let me know about a great new (and free!) training they’re doing next week called Follow the Leader. The focus is to try to help you become a leader worth following – something a youth worker at any level needs continual training in.

It is going to be held Tuesday December 11th from noon – 1 PM Central Time – you can sign up right here.

JG

Most youth workers I know have one thing in common…they try to do too much. Many of us are perfectionists. Many leaders care so much that they give too much. Many leaders don’t know how to recruit. Sometimes we just reach teens quickly and we seem to never be able to catch up.

I have been that guy trying to do everything. I finally started asking for help but I made a critical mistake. I started dumping responsibility on people who were willing instead of looking for leaders who could partner with me in ministry. When you dump responsibility you look for a willing person and give them stuff to do that you don’t want to mess with. You basically ask them to do the work and leave you alone so you can do other things. Sure, it helps for the short term but when they have other things to do they will hand you back the responsibility. I leaned in the process I needed sharp leaders who would partner with me in ministry so they understood the why behind the what! Here are four kinds of leaders we need to be empowering…

  • Small Group Leaders / these are leaders who will invest in teens intentionally like you wish you could do for every teen. They will mentor, guide, clarify, instruct, encourage, and pray for teens on a weekly basis. These leaders are extensions of you doing youth ministry and they are the most important partners you will have.
  • Detail Leaders /  these are leaders who are gifted administratively and can help you by talking care of the details that bog us down on a weekly basis. These leaders can organize, delegate, and systematize but they may not be great with teens. Let them thrive in the detail so you can lead the big picture!
  • Presence Leaders / these are leaders who care for teens but may not be ready to lead a small group. They just want to serve teens and help where needed when they are available. They love teens and they love your ministry but they have other things that pull them away from leading a small group. Let them run a cafe, work the parking lot, or help run games during programing.
  • Tech Leaders / these are leaders who love the digital side of what we do but may not be good at other areas of student ministry! Let them make your environment look , feel, and sound better.

What are some “leader types” that you empowered and they made you and your ministry better? What keeps you from empowering leaders?

Michael Bayne is Family and Student Pastor at Grace Community Church, Clarksville TN. Follow him on Twitter at @michael_bayne and read more of his writing at www.michaelbayne.net



If there is no one to lead than you will never get anywhere.  Doesn’t matter if your ministry has two volunteers or two hundred, if you are the only leader eventually the burdens and responsibilities will be too much.  Chances are there is at least one other leader serving in your ministry the problem is you haven’t found him or her.  You might think someone is a leader, and even call him or her one; however, you aren’t completely sure.

The reason your youth ministry needs leaders is so that you can share the burden and expand your capacity.  With other leaders more ideas are brought to the table and your ministry teams will start to grow.  Every youth ministry needs leaders; however, it isn’t as simple as going out to your volunteers and saying, “You’re a leader, so go lead.” You might call someone a leader because they are a dedicated and committed volunteer; however, they aren’t taking your ministry to new directions.  In order to share the burden and build up leaders, you need to know what one looks like.  To find these leaders you need to make sure you are on the lookout for.

Selfless Actions – A leader is someone who will serve others.  Meaning they are compassionate towards others, willing to put others before themselves.  They encourage and empower those beneath and below them, even if it means losing out on the credit.  These leaders are the ones who go above and beyond what you’ve asked of them.

Inspirational Communicators – A leader isn’t so much a doer as a motivator.  This means laying out a challenge for the team to undertake.  It means delegating in a way that empowers the team opposed to demanding.  Your leaders are people who can rally the troops and move them towards your mission.

Big Vision Casting – A true leader sees the picture before anyone else.  They might not know how or when, but they know what.  They aren’t afraid to dream big even if others call them idealistic.  They know and understand that God calls us to greater things.

What makes a great leader?  Someone willing to step up to the plate to serve alongside of you.  Granted you might be a director, pastor or manager; however, you need other leaders to help you mobilize your resources and volunteers.  Don’t be afraid to sit with your team and talk about these qualities.  Have them help you identify the characteristics and values.  When you can build leaders you can serve more teens because they will help you manage the people around you.

What are some other characteristics of a leader?

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more great youth ministry articles and thoughts on his exceptional blog Marathon Youth Ministry.

There are a ton of reasons small groups don’t work for people. It is easy to look at the group and point fingers at others but the best place to find some answers is to look closely at yourself. In my experience I’ve seen several attitudes that stop true community from forming in student small groups. I was able to share 4 of these pitfalls as a warning to students this week at our Life Group kickoff:

Just don’t say anything
This is the person who gets to group and refuses to say anything at all. He or she will not let ANYONE in or say ANYTHING. They will not be vulnerable and refuse to let someone in. They are simply putting in their time, or perhaps they were hurt in a previous group and don’t trust people out of the gate. Community can’t happen with that mindset.

The TMI guy
This is the classic “oversharer” the person who talks on and on about everything in their life. The person who refuses to stop talking about themselves, and redirects all of the conversations to cleverly make it about them. The person who won’t open up LOVES this person, so they can continue sitting on the sidelines of the group.

The 10% rule
This is the person who shares just enough to satisfy their leader – or shares enough of their story to get correction that doesn’t sting. They tell the story slanted to their perspective that favors them. Some choose to share just 10% – just enough to keep the conversation going without getting deep. Some share 90% – and leave out the last part to disguise the real problem or the severity of the issue.

Us vs. them
Community isn’t just you and your peers – it is a connection with your leaders as well. I was talking to one of our leaders this week who said “I think they would be surprised at what I would show up at if they just let me in.” Build then keep unity within your group. Students who deflect genuine community by attacking the leader never win. Community says we’re all in this together and rejects cliques and insiders/outsiders.

So what do we do?
1) Identify the walls and masks in your life
2) Make yourself vulnerable to the others in your group
3) Share … all of it
4) Lead others by your example and unity

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:9-12

JG



Was just thinking through some resources that I’d like to get into the hands of some key players in my youth ministry world, thought I would share a few things I’m processing to push my people (and myself) to the next level. Might inspire you to do the same:

For my upperclassmen Life Group leaders: Apologetics Bible
This year we’re giving all of our junior and senior Life Group leaders the Apologetics Bible from Sean McDowell. They’re handling some big questions and doubts and we want to equip them to build a healthy foundation for their beliefs. This is one of the tools we want to help with that journey! A steal at only $14 from Amazon.

For my underclassmen Life Group leaders: Emergency Response Handbook
New leaders need basic help – this little book gives you a quick list of things to do/not do and say/not say. Think of it as a primer and quick reference guide to a whole bunch of things they may encounter this year. It is still on sale (and has been for a long time) at SYM for $4.99. Incredible deal, we have it in the hands of every new leader on the team.

For my intern: Youthsphere
I actually want to take this course myself, but know it will tremendously benefit some of the younger youth workers out there. Youthsphere is an online youth ministry certificate program from my friend Doug Fields and a few other leading youth ministry experts. Pretty substantial investment, but one that will deliver big returns, too. Check out youthsphere right here and you can get 10% off using promocode: MTDB

For me: Take the Lid Off Your Church
I want to grow as a leader as well – I’m super excited to read Tony Morgan’s new book Take the Lid Off Your Church. He sent me a copy last week and I’m excited to dive in and be challenged by him as well. He’s one of the long-time bloggers I’ve followed for years – I read everything he writes! $2.99 on Amazon Kindle.

For the youth pastor buddy: The New Breed
I like to have a little gift when I have lunch with a youth worker in the area or someone comes to visit. Sometimes I have something around the office or an author copy of something I wrote – but I think I’m going to pick up a few copies of The New Breed by Jonathan McKee – looks like a great resource to help anyone working to develop a volunteer team. On closeout right now (since the 2nd edition is coming out this week I think) for $3.99!

JG

Darren Sutton is a youth worker and author of the new book, Everyone is Called to Youth Ministry. It released this week from LeaderTreks and is designed to help youth workers recruit, train and encourage a youth ministry team.

1 – you’re on a book writing roll right now! Tell us about your latest project!
Dude, I am so stoked!!  This book is coming out of LeaderTreks.  And when I talk about it, I feel like those geeky scientists who get way too passionate about their inanimate inventions!  :)  I basically bled my youth ministry volunteer philosophy on the page.  I believe every single person in the church has a place in your youth ministry – they just don’t know it yet.  This book tells you how to find them, what to do with them, and how Jesus can rock your YM world through adults walking alongside you in ministry.

2 – great so we’ve gotten the shameless plug out of the way – now tell other youth pastors a funny story from your time in the trenches:
Oh my gosh….they’re like Lays potato chips….you can never stop with just one!!  I serve in a beach community – most all my students are fit and health conscious…they won the anti-lotto when they got me!  One night on a mission trip, we were playing hacky sack…and i was dying to prove how limber and awesome fat guys could be!!  So I went for the rockin’ roundhouse over-the-head, triple gainer, heel-back-toe smash…and fell flat on my back…so hard it literally shook the concrete slab we were playing on and the basketball backboards in the gym we were playing in.  Those kids remember nothing else from that mission trip – and never miss an opportunity to remind me of it!  There’s also the time I mistyped a link address in a note I sent to our church e-mail list on behalf of my pastor…and it ended up linking to porn…and looked like it came from him.  Good times….good times.

3 – what are you most passionate about?
hacky sack….not really.  This is a trick question – because we all know we’re supposed to say Jesus.  But I will answer honestly….my family.  My wife and kids –  I am so out of my league and blessed beyond measure.  (I also like teenagers pretty well…and ice cream rounds out the trifecta.)

4 – you have the eyes of a ton of youth workers – what would you say to them?
STOP STARING!!  What I would really say is don’t give up. You might walk away from church work.  You might dump teenagers.  You might even throw in the towel on yourself.  But don’t give up on Jesus.  He’s the only thing worth going to the mat for….or the concrete slab….

5 – will you dedicate your next book to me?
I don’t know – will you write it with me?

JG