Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How Not To Run Your Youth Ministry.

My first cell phone was cutting edge. I carried a phone in my backpack before most people even had answering machines. It was an amazing innovation. Now it is a laughable piece of technological history. If you don’t know what I’m talking about do a google search of Motorola 8000X and you will be laughing with me. You would also laugh at some of old school methods of doing youth work. For example, there were those attaching a spark plug to a metal chair so you could shock an unknowing newcomer to the youth group. “Welcome to Church!”

Besides the obvious health issues and risk of legal liabilities that we see, we also see that such a method would not encourage an emotionally safe environment for those looking to start a relationship with God. At the time however, such an activity was seen to create a fun environment that appealed to young people as opposed to the lecture style of most churches. And… it worked. (But please, please, please, do not repeat it.)

Through my innovative methods of youth work over the past 15 years I can safely say I’ve learned more about how not to run a youth ministry than how to create an effective one. It reminds me of walking through the home of Thomas Edison and seeing the pile of failed attempts of creating a lightbulb and reading his famous words, “I have not failed 10,000 times, but have learned 10,000 ways in how not to make a lightbulb.” Yet as I look above my head at the light fixture I realize his pursuit of innovation has impacted the entire world.

As youth work professionals we too need to be innovators. But standing on the cutting edge will give you scars on your feet. You may face criticism, discouragement and humiliation, but if you haven’t failed, maybe you haven’t really tried. Maybe your next attempt will be the one the ends up changing the world. Why give up now.

I’ve gotta run, my brick is ringing.
blog comments powered by Disqus