“Eric, Jesus walked the Earth and only 33% of the world is Christian. How can you expect to do any better? God isn’t calling you to be successful. He’s calling you to be faithful.”
Boom. That was it. My pastor had just given me a spiritual roundhouse kick to my face, and it was the wake up call I needed.
For a long time I had focused so much on the numbers and all the things I was doing in ministry that I neglected to see all the ways God had been moving. To be honest, I had gained a Savior Complex.
Right at this moment, stop and rate your youth ministry program on a scale of 1-10. What rating did you give? Better yet, why did you give the ministry that ranking? When we evaluate our ministries, there are several factors that we use to judge its “successfulness.” Often the number of teens, or the amount of compliments (or complaints), or the supportiveness of the pastor and parish are keys factors – but should they be? “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). Maybe it is time to take a different approach in evaluating youth ministry at your parish. Maybe it is time to ask how God sees our efforts in leading teens closer to Christ and how effective we are in His eyes. In the end, it is not about numbers or compliments or complaints – it is about faithfulness to the call God has placed on our hearts.
Last month, I had a great moment with one of my favorite teens! (Yes, I do play favorites. You can ask any of my teens and they will proudly tell you why they are my favorite.) After a night of trying to pray with teens (a night that I had spent countless hours developing, praying through, and finally executing according to plan), this teen walked up to me and gave me a simple, concise explanation of her experience: “Fail.” Just one week later, I tried to have some relational ministry time with