Well, as many of you know I have not been having the most pleasant time at church as of late. I’m not going to go into details, but I was doing my rounds of various blogs this afternoon and I noticed this post on Internet Monk. So, I read it and decided that I wanted to comment on it a bit. So, here goes.
Basically Michael gives five things that Youth Pastors (in my case we shall assume youth minister since I’m unpaid) need to hear. Most of them require some type of action. I’m going to comment on those five things, and then I have a question, a request really, for anyone who might find themselves reading this over the coming days and weeks. Okay, so here goes.
1. Micheal says to find out who you report to (in my case the pastor) and go to that person. Accept critique, look for ways to improve from that person. This line sums it up best, “He is the man, you are the boy.” Too true often. So, I have done that. It’s actually been my normal lifestyle to do that for quite sometime now. It was probably made easier by the fact that I did my internship at my church, and so that was just normal.
2. Next Michael challenges popularity with the students and exactly how that might be achieved. Basically this boils down to, “Are you popular for doing fun and crazy things and teaching students that the church will focus completely on what they want? Stop it.” If you ask anyone who knows me I think you’ll find that I’m about as far from that as possible. I doubt I’m really all that popular with the students. Some of them like me, but I don’t have the normal “uber-cool youth worker” popularity thing going for me. So, I think I can say that I understand Michael’s second point and am not there either.
3. Michael says to read a book and stop teaching things that make the people in the church want to strangle you. Now, to some extent this may be a problem for me. Not because I don’t read books (you should see my library, heck…just look at the number of Hebrew and Greek grammars that I have). But rather because I try to present what the Bible says, and if things are unclear, I don’t try to force a theological system onto the Bible. Some people would want to strangle me for that, I think that that’s a good thing. Regardless, I am prepared, and I do read plenty of books.
4. Music – I’m so completely removed from that it sometimes makes me wonder if I’m really a youth minister. The church has gotten, in the past, entirely to hung up on music. We have more important things to be doing than, “youth geared worship songs.”
5. Communicate with parents and embrace being an adult. That basically sums up what Michael says in his fifth point. I’m all there as far as embracing adulthood. So, I don’t think that’s a problem. Now, I will readily admit that I probably need a bit of work communicating with parents. That’s something that is in the plan for this coming fall. But it will need to be hashed out a bit more.
So, I’ve responded to those five things. I think I’m doing well in those areas. So, I ask…why is it that I get the feeling that many people still disapprove of my leadership at my church? Obviously I’m not going to go into specifics. My point here wasn’t to say, “Oh see, I’m doing everything that Michael Spencer says, and so I’m okay!” Far be it! Actually, I wanted to try to say that I think I do well in those areas, but that there must be another area that I’m missing. So, what would some of you place as item number six or seven? I’m not looking for, “Oh, well…you’re doing fine, find another church.” I’m looking for various areas that might cause people to doubt a young youth ministers ability to lead.