I just finished up a video for Morgantown Community Church. It has a double focus. Advertise for our upcoming Mythbuster series and get people to bring candy for the Children’s Easter Egg Hunt. This week i discovered freesound.org. The free files I found on there helped out greatly at making the sound quality seem better.
I remember as a child something I always wanted to be able to do was juggle. I had trouble just catching a ball that was tossed to me. There was no way I would have the hand eye coordination to juggle. This did not stop me from trying. The issue I always had was that as I was focusing on one ball I would drop another. I could maybe keep two balls going at once but never all three.
I have found that youth ministry is a lot like juggling. You need to keep up with kids, plan trips, plan for weekly meeting, meet parent, keep the church leaders informed and happy, write lessons, recruit volunteers, keep volunteers happy and much more.
Over my three and a half years being a head youth worker I have had many times where I said “If I just get this right everything else will fall into place.” Early on my biggest focus was teaching. I spent a ridiculous amount of hours preparing lessons that I thought were really good. I was taught in college that a good lesson had 4 hours of prep for every 5 minutes of teaching. At first I really assumed that if I just got the lessons right everything else would fall into place. I ended up with an unorganized mess. Today I can look back and say that I fell into the lesson trap.
I then realized that I needed to get things organized. I scaled down the amount of time on the lesson to a more reasonable amount and sometimes less then reasonable. I then spent all my time getting things organized. I made sure that there was a handout for everything, poster, flyer, schedules, and signup sheets. During this phase I spent a large amount of time brain storming what creative, fun thing we could do during a youth meeting that will be memorable and fun. My focus was on the program.
At some point my focus changed again. I decided that I really just needed to connect with the kids. I started meeting one on one or in small groups with them as much as I could handle. I went to anything they invited me to. I would Facebook stalk, text message and e-mail teens and had a spread sheet to make sure it looked random but that I would not be missing anyone. I was focused on relationships and set many other tasks to the side. We again became disorganized and lessons continued to suffer.
I fell into three different traps consistently. I remember going from one to the next. I knew I needed to find balance I just could not. I am still struggling with this today but have found ways to help keep the balance.
Get help: I hand most of the programming details off to student leaders. I ask them to come up with and run the majority of what happens during out meetings. This freed me from some of the programming tasks I was juggling. It also forces relationships. I know that I will be checking in with anyone who is running part of the event.
Learn to say no: I say no to invitations all the time. If I know I need to focus on something else I will miss a sports event, or drum line show, or concert. It’s not because I don’t care but because I know that I need to focus on what is best for the group.
Review with others: I ask people all the time “how do you think that went”. I don’t do anything formal I just a questions. If there is something that took up a lot of my time but they don’t remember then it was a waist of my time.
Learn to Kill Things: A few months ago everyone walked in to a youth room set up like a funeral and a wooden casket in the front. We killed the Wednesday night program as they knew it. Our church has killed many other programs. Everything needs to have a purpose and if it does not fulfill the purpose there are two options, 1 Change the purpose to match what it does accomplish or 2. Kill it.
I am still learning how to juggle. I drop balls all the time but then reach down and pick them back up as soon as I notice. The ball I have not spent enough time on is Leadership training. I hope to research and plan to better equip both our student leaders and our adults to help oversee different aspects of the youth ministry.
Today the Morgantown Community Church’s Facebook page received a question that i found interesting. I wanted to post the question and my answer to see what people thing.
Why do you brainwash people?
How’s it going? I’m the youth pastor at MCC. I work with the teenagers and technology mostly. I wanted to message you back and ask for examples of people who we brain washed. I didn’t know we had been successful… If we figured out how to brainwash people it would be amazing. Here are some reasons why:
1. We would no longer have people leave the church.
2. People would give more generously and we wouldn’t have to watch the budget closely.
3. We would not have to beg people to serve in different ministries the church has.
4. No one would ever challenge us on thing we say the bible teaches
The list could go on….
I hope you realized that I was joking about wanting to brain wash people. It would make some things easier but that’s not what we are about.
We openly say “Here is what we believe”(It’s on the internet public for all to see http://morgantowncommunitychurch.org/#/statement-of-faith/4536678078 ). If people agree that is awesome if they disagree we are going to love them anyway but that is there right to believe what they want.
If people agree with our faith we encourage
them in partnering with us to live out what we believe. We encourage and equip them to live a life that honors God
I don’t think this is any different than any other major religion or activist group.
Anyone who cares about animals and donates or follows the SPCA will receive information from them about how to help save animals lives. They learn how to live out what they believe. The same is true of the Tea Party, Occupy camps, NRA, election campaign teams, and more. It’s always the same format “Here is what we believe and why, if you agree then do ______”
I think we could even say some atheists do this. Atheists often teach “religion is a crutch that will hold back humanity and civilization from evolving (Their believe) so we need to remove all religion from government and society to help further the human race (If you agree do this).”
So to answer your question I do not believe we brain wash people. We offer them a world view that gives them hope for the future, encouragement for now, council on how to get over the past, and advice in how to live the best life possible.
I want to end by letting you know that I enjoy philosophical conversational. If you would like to continue the conversation I am more than willing to have a dialog.
I just finished up a video from Lets week’s Baptism and Testimonies at Morgantown Community Church. There are a few issues like voices not lining up with mouths during the testimonies but overall I am content with how it turned out.