Last week we bought an ice cream maker. Probably not the healthiest investment, but definitely a fun and will-be-well-used one! Aside from the richer taste, there’s something euphoric and nostalgic about making your own ice cream with your own ingredients. Granted, we do have it much easier as our machine is fitted with a motor instead of having to churn it by hand. But there’s still something special about it.
We haven’t had much time to try many recipes. In an effort to try to make our ice cream low in calories, I found the first low-in-calories ice cream recipe I could. Needless to say, this was not a wise choice. Ice cream is meant to have cream in it. Hence the name: ice cream. So I should have figured our byproduct would leave something to be desired. We had some leftover mixture from this batch, so I decided to add pudding mix, since we had an extra in the pantry, to thicken it up some and knock off the icy taste. The second batch came out too strong on the pudding side of things.
So why do I tell you this? Because ministry is much the same way. We’ve often heard of the analogy of ministry needing to be a well-oiled machine, and this is true. In fact, Jason wrote about an aspect of this on Monday – how our youth ministries should be run professionally. But just as important as the machine itself (programming, events, vision, etc.), is what goes into the machine. The better your ingredients, and the better your method of combining those ingredients, the better your product will be.
You won’t get high quality, rich ice cream without high quality, rich ingredients. Likewise, you won’t get a high quality youth ministry without high quality people. People are the ingredients that will make or break your ministry.
Youth Pastors/Coordinators: Be in tune to who you allow to influence your students. I know many of you may be hurting for volunteers, so you’re willing to take whoever will dare to sign up. Please don’t do this! It takes a special person to be a high quality youth leader, and trust me that you don’t want sub-par influencers in your youth ministry. Search for people who have a passion for young people and who have been given the spiritual gifts necessary to carry out this great task and responsibility.
Youth Leaders: Don’t sign up for the first open spot. I personally have filled many roles in youth ministry: greeter, host teams coordinator, student leadership coordinator, small group leader, material writer/organizer, etc. There are definitely certain rolls that I am better at than others, and that’s ok! God wired us this way. Figure out what your niche is and where God can best use you first.
Parents: You and your kids are necessary ingredients to your youth ministry. Pastors and leaders will come and go, but your youth ministry wouldn’t exist without you or your kids. I just want to encourage you to spend quality time pouring into your kids. They need you more than anybody else, and God chose you to be their parent for a reason. Also, get involved! Ask where you can help out, because, chances are, they have just the right spot for you.
Have you seen people make or break your ministry? Feel free to comment below.