Thursday, August 15, 2013

Youth Ministry: Stuck in a Rut?

Youth Pastors are some of the most creative people on the planet and yet, we get stuck doing the same old things time and time again.  You… right now… are probably stuck in a rut and you may not even realize it.  It’s not all your fault, God created us as creatures of habit.  However, don’t let a rut or a routine keep you from maximizing your full potential in ministry.

Here are a few ruts we get stuck in:

    [RUT]  Service Flows:  Time to plan this weeks service… what should we do?  How about 3 songs, then a welcome, then a video, then a message then discussion time.   Afterall, that’s what we did last week, and the week before, and the week before.  When you become predictable, you’ve become boring.  If you’re bored with your flow, so are you kids.

    SOLUTION  Change it up a bit.  Do a service that is 100% video.  Do a service that’s 100% music.  Speak first and then do an extended worship set… Don’t be afraid to mix it up and prevent predictability.

    [RUT]  Schedule:  If you’re not careful, your life can become very monotonous and sooner or later, you’ll wake up and feel like you’re trapped in the Truman Show.  Same meetings, same conversations, same stuff all the time.

    SOLUTION  Challenge yourself to create a new work schedule each week.  Go different places.  Meet with new people.  Start fresh conversations about fresh topics.  Visit new schools or new organizations within the schools you go to, etc.

    [RUT]  Meeting Format:  If the meetings you lead are predictable and/or boring, you need to give your meeting a facelift.

    SOLUTION  Grab a basketball and have your meeting over a game of H.O.R.S.E.  Get in the car and take your meeting to the Bowling Alley or to Starbucks.  Change the environment and you’ll change the energy and attention of your people.

    [RUT]  Big Events:  Most Student Ministries do the same things year after year… whether they’re working or not.

    SOLUTION  At the end of each year, start your planning process with a blank piece of paper and go from there.  If something isn’t working or it’s played out, don’t waste time or resources trying to keep it alive; kill it.  Use your creativity, resources and discernment to discover something fresh that could make a huge kingdom impact in the lives of the students you’re ministering to and do THAT!

    [RUT]  Conversations:  It’s easy to get into a rut of talking to the same students and the same adult leaders every single week.  And we have to acknowledge the fact that we ignore the same kids and adults in the same way.

    SOLUTION  For one weekend, try to ONLY speak to the people you don’t typically speak to.  It’s okay to acknowledge the others, but make an extra effort to connect with those you typically aren’t connecting with.

    [RUT]  Campus Ministry:  The easy thing to do is the comfortable thing and most Youth Pastors are very comfortable with visiting the schools he already has a relationship with.  It’s easy to get in this rut, but it’s dangerous because it prevents us from expanding our territory and venturing into new waters (that may be a little uncomfortable or scary).

    SOLUTION  Go to a school campus today… that you haven’t been on before.  Even if you have to drive a little ways, go introduce yourself, thank the administration, bring them a gift (Starbucks travelers are great) and make an effort to expand your territory.

Your job is way too big and far too important for you to find yourself stuck in a rut.  Stay on your toes, stay fresh and stay ready to take your ministry to a whole new level!

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