I had coffee with a ministry friend yesterday. His church plant is about 5 years old so they aren’t completely tiny but they aren’t so big that they’ve become a thing.
He said something pretty radical. Allow me to paraphrase.
“About a year ago my youth ministry guy started a youth group. I think he thought it was the right thing to do. But it was really unnatural for us as a church, cost him a lot of energy, and took him away from being on campus– the thing thing he’s best at and gives him the most life. So we just agreed to kill youth group so he can go back to what he was made for.”
Say what? You mean the church launched something. Then they realized it wasn’t going to work so decided to kill a program instead of fire an employee? Yup, that’s what they did. They didn’t double-down on youth group. They folded and placed a new bet on a different form of youth ministry.
Bend your mind around that for a second.
Building a ministry around the gifts, dreams, and strengths of a minister instead of asking them to conform to a culturally created expectation for what a youth worker does– imagine the possibilities. I’m not trying to sound sarcastic but you have to know that this is a radical concept!
All-too-often I meet youth workers who feel the program they run, mid-week youth group / small groups and a Sunday morning thing, drains the life out of them. Meetings and planning suck joy from their soul.
And what they really live for that brings them life? The thing that keeps them in it? It’s something they do on the side. They coach their kids soccer team. They go to conferences to see friends. They volunteer at the high school.
It makes me wonder if we’re all doing it backwards?
What if churches hired the right people and asked them to build a ministry around what brought them joy? What if they built their ministry around what they are good at, what they are passionate about, what their spiritual gifts lead them to, and chasing the unique dreams God has called them to.
Is that even possible?