Friday, April 27, 2012

Youth Min Dilemma

So... I'm posting on here just because I need to get these thoughts down. This is just rambling. No photos today. Just me. And some real life.

I really pissed some people off this week (pardon my french). I have been working in youth ministry for about 10 years and this is one of the first times I called out a few students on some behaviors that were driving me nuts! I really like to sugar-coat things... because I really like to be liked (one of my many flaws). I'm not a fan of controversy and will avoid it if absolutely possible (funny though because I'm a completely different person when doing therapy with youth)...

Perhaps that's what happened... I became less of a youth leader and more of a therapist... the kind that doesn't put up with kids' bull**... (again with the french)

I guess my intent is to get my word vomit down on "paper" so that I can clear these thoughts - maybe in the process, someone else who works with kids and lives out there in cyberspace would give me a little friendly advice.

I really got frustrated with some of the petty things happening between some of my ladies and I told them about it. Perhaps a little more harshly then they would have liked. And now, of course, as teenagers (and pre-teens) do.. they went off in a huff and I haven't heard from them since. I stew over these things because I don't want them to leave the church, but I couldn't just let them keep thinking these behaviors are what will help them to grow and mature

... or could I?

I keep telling myself over and over that the mother of Jesus was around 15 years old. Why is it wrong for me to expect more out of the teens around me? Why is it wrong to belief they can make mature decisions for themselves? Why is it wrong to EXPECT that... What have we done to our teenagers?

... or when did I become cynical?

8 comments:

  1. what church are you a youth leader at?

    i know what you mean about having to get it all out or written down sometimes. i hope you feel better getting it off your chest!

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    1. Lake City Community Church down in Lakewood. :)

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  2. This is a tough one. I can't speak for your specific situation, but I have really begun to trust and rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance on situations like these. There have been times when I have set expectations for a youth... and they slowly began falling away and currently are out of church. After a few times of this happening, I had to wonder... is it ME that's calling them out, because of my own frustrations, or was it really for them? I believe the Holy Spirit can guide us. Let us know when it is best to leave alone, and when it is best to call out... and if necessary how to call them out in a way that will allow them to receive and grow from it. I still pray that those ones that I did call out one day do return to church and get back on track with the Lord. Yes, we are our brother's keeper, but ultimately they will report to God for the decisions they make and cannot blame me. But God's timing is better than mine, and who knows when what I said to them could begin to grow in their lives. Just because I don't see the fruit right away doesn't mean it wasn't of God either.
    I struggle this with you because I don't want you in anyway to think I am insinuating that you did the wrong thing, and especially if those young women never come back... but I just wanted to encourage and remind you that we are humans. We do not always have the right answers. Hopefully this situation works out, but if it doesn't don't blame yourself. Just keep on going. Ultimately, we plant seeds... God is the one that brings the growth.

    Hope this book of a comment was helpful...

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    1. Yes! So helpful... These kinds of things happen it just is interesting that it happened in a few different situations thoroughly the week... Makes me wonder what's going on in my own life this week. I do hope that it works out and I do believe they are lessons that will effect their future I just worry and dwell on things.... I do need to trust in the lord more and God knows I need to spend more time in prayer for all of my students...

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  3. Oh dear, the dilemma! I'm a fan of TELL THEM. If they choose not to hear you you can't blame yourself. "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge" (somewhere in Prov). If they choose not to listen to you, it is only a matter of time before they "walk away from the Lord." My guess is they aren't walking too closely with Him if they aren't willing to listen to wisdom... So keeping them "your fan" by not telling them is simply delaying the inevitable (them walking away later), or hastening their growth (to challenge them now). However, keeping in mind the principles in Matthew 18 to examine your own heart. The goal must ultimately be to restore their relationship to Christ, not to vent or gain some sort of justice for yourself.

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    1. Thank you for the good advice! :) and I agree... Venting can be helpful but only if followed up by action and prayer :)

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    2. Thank you for the good advice! :) and I agree... Venting can be helpful but only if followed up by action and prayer :)

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  4. I my humble opinion, you've made them think and that's a good thing. But if you were harsh, perhaps pray about asking for forgiveness, you will be a model of Christ-like behavior in doing that! I find that often it's not 'what' I say but 'how' I say it that makes the difference... just thinking with you!

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