Thursday, May 24, 2012

Breathing New Life

When I worked for a church in Wooster, Ohio, the youth ministry was not well-established.  The church was full of people eager for youth ministry, but they had been in transition in this area for awhile.  At that church, I walked a tightrope of implementing programs and ministry fast while getting to dream with people about what they wanted and what I thought was best.  It was great, overwhelming, exciting, and fearful.  There was nothing ahead of us - so I knew that almost anything I put in place would be new and the kids would have not experienced it before.  It was definitely an interesting place to be.  The youth pastor who is there now has taken the opportunity he has before him and run with it, doing awesome things in the lives of the students and their church.  I love that he is doing it, and I love the way that he does so with excitement.

Having working in Marysville for 2+ years, I love that I get to work for my home youth ministry and work with great people in an established program.  It's amazing to already have a budget laid out, know what week we'll go on a mission trip, and not have to re-write the confirmation program.  But here, it's harder to make huge changes.  It takes more time to start from scratch, and sometimes it's easier to do things the way we always have.  For instance, I've been wanting to re-write our confirmation curriculum since I came here; Carrie thinks it's a great idea, but it always gets to the bottom of my list.  Our curriculum now is good but it's not great - so each year, I just settle for it.  It's harder to decide what needs to stay and go, and how the pieces all fit together when that happens.  Even when Carrie and I chose to cancel our monthly CD subscription, it was painful.  We've always had that - even before she came ten years ago. Will our kids no longer listen to Christian music if we get rid of it, even though they never borrow the CDs now?, we thought.  We knew it was a waste of money in 2012 and that sometimes, things need to move aside.  So that's why this article struck me.  I like to ask these questions sometimes, and I know that in my naivete, I don't have all the answers.  Working with a team, though, I think we can answer these questions (actually, this just made me think - and now I'm going to send the MTD post to all of our adult leaders for their answers) and come away with fresh eyes and renewed focus. 

What questions would a new youth worker in your position immediately ask about the youth ministry?
What changes would be a no-brainer?
Who they would do ministry with? 
What programs a new youth pastor would kill with ease?

In my coach training with SLI, we talk a lot about new church plants and churches that need revived.  Planting a church is hard work that I could never undertake (at least I don't think so).  It requires lots of skills that I just don't have, and takes a 24/7/365 commitment.  But at the same time, revival is also hard working.  Letting God breath new life into ministry isn't easy, and requires saying 'no' to a lot of things you hold dear and 'yes' to a lot of things that are scary.  Even healthy ministries need a willingness to have new life breathed into them regularly.  And I would say that healthy ministries especially and eagerly do this.  See the original post here, and be willing to ask these questions.

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