I believe that who we talk about is a big indication of where our hearts are. If we spend a lot of time talking about God that normally means are hearts are alive for Him. If we talk about our families, it is a sign that family matters to us, even if it is messy at times. I always tell people interviewing someone to be the youth leader at a parish to note how many times the person talks about teens, as it is a good indication about the posture of that persons heart toward teens. The only problem with our talking about things, is that if we spend more time talking about those that we care about versus actually spending time talking with them – we potentially short change ourselves and others.
A Better Communication Formula: With > About
1.) Do you spend more time talking with God or talking about Him?
For those of us in full time youth ministry, we can be so caught up in leading others to Christ, that we end up getting this wrong and talking more about God than we do talking with Him. Our talking about God needs to flow out of our relationship with Him.
It’s easy to start thinking that since you’re always talking about God that you’re talking to God. But that’s not necessarily true. In fact, they are two very different things. It’s possible to talk about God and not be transformed. However talking with God always leads to transformation. It’s possible to talk about God and become burned out doing so. However talking with God breathes life into the most exhausted parts of our soul.
2.) Do you spend more time talking with your family or talking about them?
Some times our families get the leftovers of our day. We can talk all day about how great our family is, but when we get home, we shut down and don’t engage everyone in conversation. We need to shut off our tv’s, computers and whatever other distractions at home and have conversations with our families. Nothing will transform your family more than spending time talking with each other.
3.) Do you spend more time talking with teens or talking about teens?
It’s easy to lull ourself into a false sense of security that if we merely talk about teens all the time, we are somehow “doing youth ministry”. Only problem is that in reality, the absolute most important thing we can be doing with our time is not talking about teens, but talking directly with teens. This is where the rubber meets the road for youth leaders. It doesn’t matter how much you talk about teens if you’re not spending any time with them. You can transform youth ministry at your parish by doing this.
How about you – is your communication formula correct?