It’s an Art, Not a Science
I love algebra, chemistry, and similar maths and sciences. Jason, however, does not. Why? Well I love things that are always true. In algebra and chemistry, there is only 1 correct answer to a problem, and usually only 1 way to get there. In geometry, however, there could be a number of possibilities depending on what outcome you want. It’s the same reason I love to do budget and find great joy when everything adds up exactly the way it’s supposed to. There is only one correct answer.
Ministry, especially youth ministry, is anything but algebra or chemistry. While we are all serving one God and one ultimate purpose – to lead youth to Christ and disciple them – there are an innumerable amount of ways to get there. Not only this, but different youth ministries have different emphases. Some youth ministries might be all about outreach and evangelism, while others are about inward and upward growth. The most effective youth ministries have a good balance between the two. Either way, there is no “right” way to do ministry. There is definitely a wrong way, and definitely better ways than others, but no single “right” way.
Since ministry is not a science, we as leaders and parents (you’re ministering at home just as much) need to be constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the effectiveness of our ministries. What works for teens in California won’t work for teens in Central Pennsylvania, and what works for teens in Central Pennsylvania won’t work for teens in Texas or Alaska. Likewise, what worked 10 years ago might or might not still work today. Are you seeing God do some amazing things in and through your youth? Great! Hone in on that. Find out what is working so well and make it even better. Are you struggling to see any kind of growth in your ministry? First of all pray. Seek wise counsel. Evaluate the programming of your ministry and what needs to change to become more effective. You could have the most elite programming in the nation and still fail to see growth in your ministry. Why? Because not everything works for everybody.
Think of it in terms of music. Music is very methodical when it comes to playing what is written on the page. You read and perform. There is a distinct difference, however, to playing what is on the page and being able to interpret it and turn it into a masterpiece. That’s where the art comes in. If it weren’t for emotion poured into music and a hint of artistic license, music would just be another one of the sciences. But we all know that music not a science, whether instrumental or not. Ministry is very much the same. If all we did in our ministries was go through the motions, it would be very dry and lifeless. But this should not be the case. We are dealing with people! And there is never a dull moment when we are dealing with people. There are ups and downs and a whole swell of emotion mixed with spiritual highs and lows. Ministry is constantly moving, and we need to be able to interpret it as we go (evaluating) and put in a piece of ourselves to make it more of the masterpiece God intended (tweaking).
Whether its yearly, quarterly, or weekly, we need to make sure we are always in a state of evaluation and tweaking to make sure that we are offering our students the best environment in which they can grow and reach out to those around them. If something isn’t working, scratch it or transform it into something that will work. If something is working, harness it and make it even better! Who’d have thought you’d become an artist when you grew up? An artist of people, that is.
Posted on April 25, 2012, in Leadership and tagged Art, Church, Church Ministry, Discipleship, Family Ministry, God, Jesus, Leadership, Parenting, Pastor, Religion, science, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.