Today’s post is the first in a series of advice for starting a new position in ministry, whether it’s your very first position, or if you are an old pro. Either way, our advice rings true.
Today’s Advice: Do You. The most common mistake a youth minister makes when they assume a new position is trying to fill someone else’s shoes. For me, it was trying to be the youth minister I had when I was in high school. He was funny but never at someone’s expense, witty and clever, profound but in a way that was accessible. More than anything, I wanted my youth to think the same thing about me, so I tried to be who he was. But spoiler alert – I’m not him, and that’s okay. And when we begin at a new church, there can be pressure to do everything just like the last person. That also is a mistake. I am not my former youth minister, and you aren’t the person who used to have your job.
We have our own strengths and weaknesses, styles, tastes…doing something the same way someone else did it can work against the gifts that God gave us. So don’t be afraid to be the youth minister that you were created to be. Use your gifts, your ideas, your skills and your senses to augment your program.
Now, we have a spin-off bonus piece of advice that is linked to our above piece of advice: Change for progress’ sake, don’t change for change’s sake. Be your own person and find your place, but don’t go overboard. Sometimes, we want to have a program be ours and not the last guy’s so badly, we dump everything and start over. That’s not the answer. You have to find a balance between doing what has previously been successful, but doing it your way. Change can be great, if it serves a purpose. Changing simply to make something “not the old way” is not a valid purpose. Be you, but remember that the ministry isn’t about you, it’s about bringing youth to Christ. So if something is working, find a way to continue, but on your own two feet. Be you, and change for progress. If you follow those two pieces of advice, you will find yourself transitioning into something great.