Though the job of youth ministry takes place all week, there is a culmination that happens at some point in the week. For many people it is Sunday. You are building towards a weekend service, finally preaching the sermon that you worked on all week, or it could be that Sunday is the time when you relationally get to the see a majority of the people you work with. It could either be a fantastic day, average day, or a pretty bad one. The blessing and the curse of that is there is another one coming.
This week for me, was a bit of a stinker. If I am honest, the prep time wasn’t where it needed to be. I didn’t have a clear focus on my message. I allowed the tyranny of the urgent to overtake my higher calling of presenting God’s Word to young men and women. The message I had in my head never came out and my students got a different version than intended. As it was coming out of my mouth, I was thinking, “Bachman this is not what you meant to say…what are you doing?” So that being said, this past Monday was not my favorite day. Other times I think I am amazing. Neither are totally true. So here are the dangers and the beauty of Mondays.
It is easy to beat yourself up, thinking about what you should have/could have done. There is arm chair quarterbacking in youth ministry too. I will dissect everything down to the words I said and didn’t say and where I put my hands during my sermon. It is good to evaluate what you do and try to improve. It is also a time to see if you gave your program elements the time needed. As I mentioned, I didn’t prepare as I should have. Terry Linhart posted a great blog last week about the 10 steps you should take in preparing a message. I think I did 3 1/2 of the steps! So, Sunday is coming again. Stop flogging yourself, learn from your mistakes, and don’t do it again bonehead.
You can revele in how amazing you were, missing constructive ways improve. If you are anything like me, there are those times that you KNOW you knocked it out of the park. You were amazing. Your announcements were flawless. You tied in your Overnighter next week with The Hunger Games and were able to bring it around all of the Pauline Letters while three kids were placing their faith in Christ. However, because of your amazing performance, you missed the fact that three students were in the back fighting with each other over a comment one of them made to the other one on facebook.
In pulling off weekly programs, there is a danger in it becoming very unGodly. I find myself taking God totally out of the equation and trusting on myself way too much. I prayed last week before service I don’t need to do that today, right? Everything is pretty much the same, so I am sure God is in it. Allow God’s Spirit to lead you in developing a service and a message that is right for today. Don’t offer your own or someone else’s leftovers from a camp you did two years ago.
Sometimes I will orchestrate my weekly program in a way that I can’t pull it off again. There is a weekly grind element to what we do. So I am a fan of doing special events. This way students can enjoy what you are doing, but also know that you are not going to be doing this every week. You may have the staff to pull of tons of creative elements a week but I am guessing that is the exception and not the rule. Don’t agree to, or commit yourself to too many things a week (video announcements, lazer light show, 4 cover songs for the worship team, and a game with $150 worth of supplies and giveaways) as the norm and then not be able to back it up. You will either be seen as failing at your job or burn yourself out trying to replicate that on a weekly basis.
The Universe gives you a do-over ever week. Regardless of how good or bad last week was, you have another chance to improve and try again. See it as that. Don’t allow the repetition of weekly responsibilities to beat you down. Go out there and take the fresh start and make MONday a FUNday…too much? Probably.