No, I’m not talking about some mainstream song from the ’90s! I keep it church, ladies and gentlemen (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I just dated myself, sorry).
When working in youth ministry, we have so many moving parts that make up the service. Not that big church doesn’t, or whatever you call main adult worship. Both require a relevant communicative approach to your message, an expository demonstration of what the text is saying and why truly answers the questions of today’s culture in ways they never thought, and if that wasn’t enough, we have worship sets and games and prizes and hangouts and events and so on and so on.
The point is as a youth ministry pastor or leader; there is so much responsibility. And if you are anything like I was when you started, whether you’re paid or volunteering, it’s a big responsibility and a vital ministry for the church’s future. So, naturally, we take it all on to make sure it’s getting done right and done efficiently. To top all of this, because of sin we have to wrestle with ungodly pride in everything we do.
Yes, even when called to these unique ministries that God has given us to oversee, It’s not a matter of if I have pride, but WHERE is my pride most evident. I imagine most of us in ministry; it’s our inability to delegate well.
Has God placed us to oversee and cast vision for these ministries? Absolutely.
Are we being called in our gifting to be able to handle all things ministry? Uh, yeah!
Will others take or “perform” the tasks required to run an effective ministry as well as, or like how we would do it? No!
But if our “vision” does not include the other people God has called into the community to serve alongside us, then is it God’s vision working through us or our vision at the helm?
I believe that God uses our unique personalities to convey the Gospel to students and make it memorable for the group that we are put over. We see this evidence all over the Bible. Jesus stepped off His throne, took on human form, went through our pain so that when we put our trust in Him, His bloodshed on the cross, and the power of the resurrection, we have life everlasting! Still, especially in the Gospels, one story is told from slightly different perspectives and different views of importance, but all point to the same conclusion.
Again, are people flawed, and will everything be done at the optimal standard of effectiveness and efficiency? No, but God is using them to work out the Gospel in the lives of students. We must factor others into that vision for ministry and give it away!
If we aren’t leading others to, in a sense, replace ourselves, the church will stop when we stop, burn out when we burn out, get in a rut when we get in a rut. What leaders are we if there is no one we are leading? Nobody that we are calling up? Nobody that we are sharing the responsibility in the work of advancing the gospel like Paul and all the people he championed to plant and lead these ministries? Or how about this example, JESUS, when the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two?
Give it away!
That doesn’t mean you can’t oversee. But when there are so many moving pieces, and God has called you to teach and cast vision, that should include those around you that He has also called to serve in their capacity. And even when it might be done in a way that might make you want to take it back, remember, Jesus, empowered others, Paul built up and discipled leaders, we must do the same for the sake of not our group but for the Gospel to be preached and the building of the body of Christ.
I get it the question of well do I give away does have to be answered. That is something you pray about and is again unique to your group and ministry. But a good starting place is to make a list of everything and see where you are at. Take that list and focus on what can’t be done without you. Then I would even narrow that down to three things if that list is a little exhaustive. This isn’t a formula for everyone to follow but maybe an encouragement to have a starting place and let God lead you from there. Praying for you all, and know God has placed you who needed in the position you are in.
Manny Hernandez is the Middle School Pastor at Calvary PHX