I’m not a psychologist. Nor am I a sociologist. But I know my profession pretty well. And I know a ton of people in my profession.
Why do we do what we do?
It’s an important question. In many ways it is the only question that our students want to know the answer to.
My intuition tells me that most of us have been trained that the right answer is, “I’m called to this. I couldn’t do anything else because it is who I am more than what I do.”
But behind that veil of the right answer– we find deeper, less correct, more driving motivations.
- We want to see teenagers involved in the church.
- We want them to steer clear of sex and drugs.
- We want to help parents navigate the stormy waters of early & middle adolescence.
- We want students to avoid the mess we got in; we want students to be the shining example we were in high school
- We want to work at a church and this was the open door.
- We want to be important in the lives of teenagers, we want to make a difference.
- On and on…
Not all motivations are equal in nobility. While most motivations seem pure not all are with merit. And some might actually be contributing to a new problem more than solving the problem youth ministry was created to solve.
What are some examples of pure motivations which lead to ignoble motivations? If you work in a church or parachurch doing youth ministry– What are your points of contention with donors/supports/parrishners motivated to support your ministry with motivations that could be less than helpful?