Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guest Post:8 Steps To Successfully Fail in Youth Ministry

I have found great difficulty in writing about success and failure within the context of ministry. It's hard because the true measurement is an internal and eternal one, while we mere humans are limited to
measuring the external and the present. It's like trying to declare the winner of the Master's after the front nine of the first round. Given our finite ability to see the heart and the future, here are some thoughts I've put together and/or borrow over the years.

Successful Failures:

1.) The Bible is full of failures (murderers, adulterers, doubters, martyrs, and prophets who were ignored) whose lives God used and is still using to accomplish his purposes.

2.) Jesus was a disappointment. He didn't meet peoples expectations of the Messiah--he wasn't militant enough, he wasn't holy enough, he wasn't clean enough. So they conspired to have him killed and that was exactly the will of God the Father. Jesus entire life's purpose (i.e. success) was  fulfilled in apparent complete failure.

3.) Jesus calls us to join in his failure. He says, 'the first will be last, and the last will be first' or to paraphrase 'earthy success will be eternal failure, and earthly failure will be eternal success.'

4.) Jesus even goes so far as to invite us to share in his suffering, to pick up the cross and follow him. We get the privilege of sharing in his pain and in his shame (his earthly failure) so that, just like
him, we can set prisoners free and bring glory to the Father (his eternal success).

5.) Jesus wasn't trying to doing more with his life. He was solely focused on doing the one thing God asked him to do--without the cross his life is a failure. What's the one purpose God has for your life?
And why do you feel guilty about all the other things your not doing?

6.) God isn't in a rush to sort it all out. From the parable of wheat and the tares it's clear to me that God isn't in a rush to weed out the failures from the successes.

7.) Faithfulness Not Accomplishment: God's  litmus test on our life is faith. Was I faithful to what God showed me? Was I faithful to what he asked of me? Did I believe the things he asked me to? The kingdom's building is his job we're just ask to believe in his power to accomplish it and pray it down on earth as it is in heaven.

8.) Fruits of Success: while measuring success can be difficult we can see fruit from people's lives--fruits of the Spirit and the flesh. Jesus states that we can test people's lives by the fruit they produce.

Derian Julihn is a coworker and friend of the proyouthworker.  He has expereinced the high and lows of youth ministry and his thoughts should be valued anyone in a youth work role.  You can communicate with him directly via his twitter handle @julihn
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