Youth pastors are really really good (notorious?) at justifying away the things we’re not good at. If it takes too long to do or to learn, we scrap it for something more missional, or relational, or purposeful. I do it, too. There are some dumb things that come across my desk. But I’ve recently been having some “Well that’s a first” moments in my ministry that kind of blow away my tendencies as a youth pastor.
Have you ever said something like this: No kid will ever remember my PowerPoint so why worry about it?
I’ve said it. A lot. But the truth is, sloppy presentation can ruin a message. In fact, I SAVED a horrible one I saw from several years ago just to use as an example of what to never ever ever do. But why bring this up? Why spend time worrying about design?
Because you have students who are artistic and love design. They appreciate good looking promotional material. They are intrigued by graphic presentations more than bullet points. They’ll wear good t-shirts (as opposed to, well, this).
I had a kid come up to me last week and ask, “Who designs all your stuff?” He was drawn in by the quality of the way things look.
Have you ever said something like this: Guys hardly ever sign up for our trips; that’s just the way they are.
It’s an issue that plagues American Christianity. Guys tend to be apathetic so the ladies will step up and lead. And when ladies step in, guys see that as a free pass to continue in their apathy. It’s a vicious cycle. From my experience, it has ALWAYS been a scramble to get “enough guy leaders” for anything.
Next summer I’m taking my group to StudentLIFE in Atlanta. Currently we have a 3:1 guy to girl sign up ratio. That means for every 1 girl signed up, there are 3 guys signed up. That’s a first. And that’s a trend that is continuing to build because for the last three years I have been super intentional about teaching boys what it means to be a man.
We don’t write off the apathy that guys want to drift towards. We kill it. And we remind these boys of all that God has called them to be, praising manliness when we see it.
JUNIOR HIGH BOYS
Have you ever said something like this: Working with Junior High boys is like herding cats.
Just that phrase “junior high boys” makes some people reconsider volunteering. There’s a stigma that all they do is fart on each other and break things. But I had one stop me in my tracks and say, “Well that’s a first.”
I gave him a one month devo guide to help me experiment with. After the month was up we talked about his experience with it and he said this: “Other devos I’ve done are too easy. They always ask one-word answers and when I do that I never feel like I’m growing. This one was deeper and I really liked it.”
Wait… a junior high boy said he liked it because it was deeper? Don’t be afraid to believe something greater about your junior high boys. If you call them up, they will rise to the occasion.