Thursday, May 26, 2011

Defining Failure In Youth Work

In the business world if someone makes an investment into a particular venture they want to be able to track the success of that investment.  There are many terms and methods of tracking investments but the most common reference to measuring success is Return On Investment (ROI).  If you want to know more about the technical aspects of put together in a video that the average person can understand check out this page: Click Here

In youth work there is often talk about the work with teens being an “investment”.  However, in working with people as opposed to dollar signs can make defining an accurate ROI very difficult.  There are lots of articles out there about how to be a better youth worker, but there are few people that feel that they have actually achieved “success” in this field.  Sometimes the best way to define something is to define what it is not.  Rather than take my word for it, I interviewed some youth workers from around the world about how they would define failure in youth work.  Here are their answers.

failure could only be our failure to listen and be attentive + caring toward the needs of our youth @johnsois

the only thing I can think of is not being faithful to your calling. @pj_tweets

failures are not permanent they are momentary setbacks and learning experiences on the way to wholeness and freedom :) @johnsois

Kateslem: Unengaged ??? (It is a tough one...)

Chadeddy: #youthworkfail is entertaining kids to death.

Chadeddy: #youthworkfail is when the Church cares little more for the younger generations than to throw a youthworker at them

@campuslifedole when you care more about program than people

@churchmangary what's up man. I define Youth Ministry success by the Spiritual Growth of the Young People. If they are developing relationships with God that are strong and real. I believe that's success...

@ceoismorg Hey Danny, failure is graduating young people who do not continue in their faith when leave home and are no longer required to attend church

@rcyouthworker It's always hard to say you have failed with a particular young person because you might have planted a seed you don't know about. A failure to try, to plan, to anticipate though... well, that's different I guess.

@jsdaugherty When the production & ministry of stuff over shadows spending time with the students

@jsdaugherty ..well, If your in Student Ministry never get too busy with the Ministry that you forget about the student-#Relationships

@youthpastorvb yth work is planting the seed of Christ in yth only God can give the increase so if u planted then u haven't failed.

@joshbritt great question. I am thinking making the step to Christ and growth in Christ unclear is a failure. Does that make sense?

@jessietheradical I think it would be the current state of christian youth - seeing 9 out of 10 young Christians fall away by College

@coachshef I'm thinking...

@seanUSX Standing still, refusing to change, and not meeting young people on their own turf.

@scottymct when comfort wins. #youthworkfail

@youthmaster  causing students to live fake veneer Christian lives rather than pushing them towards a vibrant, Spirit filled contagious 1

@historymakerbc A Disciple:That doesnt have an authentic, healthy, growing relationship with Christ That isnt being led by the voice of the Spirit in both practical and supernatural ways

@nextgenbc Without generosity in terms of their time, energy, resources, etc

@ymbayp good question, hmmm... Would have to say spending all of your time in the office and not in the field for starters

@gamersguide2god Failure= Making ministry all about ME. "Look how great I am!" That's what Lucifer did- "I'm more important than God."

@youthguy07 When we fail through both relationships and programs to introduce youth to the radical love & grace of Jesus, we fail @ YM.

@shapingyouth good ponderable; indifference/apathy perhaps? Won't say inaction cuz sometimes there's a time lag/then chg kicks in--Wham!

@terryramonesmit Failure in youth work is throwing Scripture and Biblical anecdotes at students without facilitating relationships

@chriswtburke  i dont know that I could give it a deffination.. but I can tell you of some of my failures over the years.. hurting kids feelings, letting kids down

@larsRood success is #winning

@brookesaugust It may sound selfish, but I think failure in ministry is when *we as followers of Christ don't grow in him #youthworkfail

@ypcoop we must teach youth how to defend their faith. We teach them worship but not how to be good apolegetics...both are needed

@ypcoop failure is youth pastor's use YM to build their own platform forgettin the assignmnt to build youth to work their ministry

@ymprof failure in youth ministry is attracting large #'s of youth to be entertained with a Moralistic Therapeutic Deist gospel.

@churchmangary Failure to me would Numbers without transformation. Having a larger ministry of untransformed Youth. Youth who are committed to church and activities but not God.

@scottymct  Its called youthWORK cuz Its hard work! There's a temptation 2 sacrifice the work for our own comfort. Comfort is a killer!

@youthguy07 I think the failure comes when they want more and we don't help them grow. If they don't want more? Stay connected & pray.

@emilyhewson #youthworkfail when you spread yourself thinly w/ too many projects & schemes to manage at the same time & not enough help.
@ypastormark Failure in youth work is when you settle for what you have and not what God wants for your ministry. #youthworkfail

@len_evans Failure in youth ministry happens when you appease people & don't pursue God's purposes according to your culture & context

@youthmaster by being fake ourselves...when we don't live authentic lives, No matter what we say they will listen to our lives

@Kelsiemorales: Failure in youth work is when we fail to listen to what our kids r saying bcs we think they're being "dramatic"

@carmenyfc Speanding all your time tweeting instead of with teens, that's #youthworkfail

@emilyhewson #youthworkfail when you spread yourself thinly w/ too many projects & schemes to manage at the same time & not enough help.

@justayouthguy Because we work with the human element, I don't think failure has to do with results or lack thereof. I think of failure in terms of my personal integrity, walk with Christ, responsibilities as husband/dad

@teenbizcoach RE: ? about 'failure' in youth work - adults who create hiearchy and barriers....

@jsmall Failure in youthwork comes when we start valuing talent over character. Both individually and in our ministries.

I think that before you can move toward success, you need to know what you are attempting to move away from.  What would you say if you had to define failure in working with youth?  Add your comments and keep the conversation alive.
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