God is my Director

Youth ministry, movies, no drugs and a variable amount of Rock ‘n Roll

Archive for November 4th, 2006


Posted by Martin on November 4, 2006

Had a meeting with a senior colleague the other day which was both highly uncomfortable and potentially invaluable. We sat down for coffee, spoke of trivial things, but then he cut to the heart of things:

‘You’re a great guy, and you have the potential to be a briliant youth worker, but as your friend, I need to be honest with you about some of your flaws…’

Now no-one likes THAT conversation. But with grace, he listed a few areas for improvement in my life, and I have to admit that at least one of them was pretty big. It was hard to hear. He’s a friend, and I respect him, but who ever wants to be taken down a peg or two? I like my peg position. I thought I was making good progress up the peg wall.

Anyway, a couple of days on, the dust has settled and I’ve realised something: I’m so grateful to him. I had no idea I was winding people up in these ways! Now that I know, at least I can have a rough stab at changing. So I guess the challenge is this: do you have people around you who can/are prepared to tell you about the things you need to work on? I didn’t – but from now on, I’ll be asking my colleague to give me a regular ‘how am I doing’ flaw update.

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Posted by Martin on November 4, 2006

Turn and face the strangeOne of the hardest things in youth ministry is when you and the team around you are putting in hour after hour of work, planning spectacular events and profound talks and discussions, and no-one’s really interested. You’re all trying your hardest to build relationships with them, and the young people look at you as if they’re Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense, and you’re Bruce Willis. Month after month goes on like this, and you’re getting nowhere. Some of the leaders give up. The adult church starts to put pressure on you, asking ‘why is nothing happening?’ You start to think that you’re not cut out for this at all.

We’ve had one of those years. But suddenly, almost without warning, something is happening. The group has changed gear. Community is starting to form where once there was just blank space. And one or two of the young people are displaying radical changes of heart and lifestyle. We’ve seen one kid go from ‘that one who is never going to make it’ to the beating heart of the group. It’s incredible to witness.

Two things to say about this. First – you wil never cease to be amazed by the transforming power of the living God. He changes lives, and he does it all the time, and in such a way that Paul McKenna can only dream about. Second – things take time. Youth ministry is a long haul job, and success rarely happens overnight. When we invest in young people, we’re putting the foundations in place, but often no-one can see what is actually being built for many months. The adult church needs to realise this key principle – that young people’s lives are changed in years, not days – or we’ll always be set up to fail.

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