Thursday, October 21, 2010

Be Who You Are

A friend shared this video with me and the first thing I thought was I have to share this via facebook, twitter, email, and my blog.   After watching it for the third time it made me think....

It made me look at my 13 years of youth ministry and how I've tried at different times to be other youth pastors and not myself...

Back in 1997-1998, my first job was a part time 10 hour a week youth director position at Faith United Methodist Church in Lexington, SC.  I was just finishing up my training to be a volunteer for Young Life.  At that time I had never been to any type of conference or workshop for youth ministry.   There were only a few books on youth ministry at the time.   The only thing I knew about how to put on youth group time was from my youth pastor growing up and from Young Life.    So I made it up as I went, I combined my knowledge of both and created my own format which is the base for how I still do youth ministry all these years later.

Over the next couple of years I started attending different workshops, one day training, and observed other youth groups.   Slowly over time I could see myself trying to copy what I saw other people doing.   I tried to do skits, music, and talks like the other guys that I was seeing.  I was trying to be someone that I wasn't...I was trying to be carbon copy of other youth workers.   Just a few years ago I stopped writing my own talks and started using talks from Simply Youth and tried to be Doug Fields by memorizing his talk transcripts.
I was trying music from the Passion movement and would introduce songs and read scripture exactly as I saw it live and own their CD.   Everything in my Sunday Night youth program was a copy of someone else and was not fully of God or of me.  I was trying to be someone else and not the Youth Pastor that God had called me to be.

Over the past couple years I have let go of that and have allowed God to show me who I am and who He wants me to be when I lead youth ministry.   I too often see other youth workers fall into the same trap that I fell into.   It can be very harmful to the youth ministry and to the church if they are not careful.  With the hundreds of youth resources out there it is very tempting for us to just copy and paste.   Just be who you are called to be.  Use these resources, but take the time to see how God wants you to use it for your students and adapt things.  

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