In my seventh grade soccer scrimmage, I ran over another girl on the opposing team because I wanted to beat her to the ball . . . not so smooth on my part, but it was the competition that motivated me to win.
We have all had to deal with a competitive person at some time. Whether it’s the neighbor whose holiday decorations always have to be more extravagant or the coworker who grabs the credit for every project, competitive people can provoke feelings of irritation, anxiety, or inadequacy. You may end up questioning yourself or feeling that you didn’t measure up to their level of wealth, talent, or accomplishment. Or you may feel like you have to compete with them and end up spending extra time or money unnecessarily.
Working on a parish and/or school staff can be similar and challenging, especially when others might not understand the meaning of youth ministry, have a different vision of “Church,” don’t get why you’re never in your office, or don’t recognize and find the game “kiss the fish” relatable to your youth night.
So how do you deal with it? How do you deal with the Confirmation coordinator who wants your job and thinks his/her way is better? How do you deal with it when the popcorn relay game got the maintenance staff upset? How do you deal with getting bumped off the parish hall list because there is a more important event than youth group? What do you do when your ministry becomes more of a competition?
Well, first off I must let you know that I am a competitive person (maybe you already got that from the intro). Actually, for those that know me, I thoroughly enjoy the excitement of competition.
BUT, competition is in the world of sports though, not ministry (or shouldn’t be in ministry). Here are simple steps to help:
- The Cross: We need to embrace the way of the Cross. You see when we compete in ministry we always lose. Our God is a God of love and love is not self-seeking. We have to love each other enough to give of ourselves in ministry without expecting anything in return.
- Team Work: We have to work together and reach across boundaries that had previously been set in place. If you don’t think you can help someone then refer them to someone who can.
- Prayer: And expect the Holy Spirit to do some awesome things to spiritually grow you and the people around you.
C’mon . . . who wouldn’t want the job of a youth minister? What other job description has eating pizza and playing dodge ball listed as “necessary skills”? Not many! In the end, you have to remember why you do what you do. Two words or should I say a person: Jesus Christ.