As youth ministers, we often serve as change agents. We begin ministry young, idealistic, eager, and often arrogant. We work in churches that have become disconnected with the culture in which they live and we know that they need to change to survive, much less fulfill their missions. We are on the front line of new ideas and creative thinking about how we can do church and youth ministry. We have big ideas, dreams, and plans for the future. And we beg, seek, desire, and yearn for…change!
Over the past month, myself and a few other pastors have been learning from Gil Rendle about how to institute change in a large organization. Every time we get excited and think that we know the answer to our problems, Gil reminds us to “hurry up and move slowly!”
The first time he said it I wasn’t sure what he meant. How can we hurry up and move slowly? How can two oxymorons form one statement that makes sense?
Our churches and youth ministries need direction, vision, and a plan to help them share the Good News. We need those things now. Our small group has named the problem that our denomination is not sustainable under its current constructs. So we need to hurry up. There is a sense of urgency that something needs to be done to help us find a new way forward.
But we don’t know the direction, the vision seems fussy, and the plan has not taken form; so we better move slowly. We must take the time and do our due diligence as we evaluate where we have been and, more importantly, where we are going. Jesus would remind us to count the cost. And if we don’t want to run ahead of everyone all by ourselves, we better invite others into the conversation so that we can move together. We move slowly.
In a world of microwave popcorn, instant pudding, and the Internet, moving slowly is a lost art. But what is lost in the conflict that arises in quick decisions? And what is gained by a commitment to the mission and vision of Christ that leads to agreed upon change?
So whatever you’ve got burning in your head and heart right now that must be done, hurry up and move slowly. The principles of deep change apply whether you are renovating the youth room, starting a new worship service, or introducing a new philosophy of youth ministry. Deep change implies a breadth and depth of buy-in from the organization or community. Deep change suggests that we will not be the same if we travel down this path. Deep change is hard, so hurry up and move slowly!
Here are some “hurry up and move slowly” principles to help you along your way:
So, if you are like me and have more ideas than you could possible initiate…then hurry up and move slowly!
How you have found these principles to be true?
We are hearing from numerous youth ministers that during this season their plate is just too full. Caring for others is a ministry staple, but often it comes at the expense of caring for oneself. Self care for the Youth MInister is so important. If you don’t take time for yourself and your own relationship with God, not only will you suffer, but eventually your students will too.
We’ve created a Pandemic Youth Week curriculum bundle that combines elements of both a summer camp and a youth week. Many youth are missing out on both of these due to cancelled camps and trips among other cancelled important events your youth would usually attend. We’ve written this curriculum such that it can be used in person while socially distancing, online, or some combination of both.
Despite all the challenges the pandemic has presented to youth ministries, it has also created an opportunity to allow youth more involvement in worship. Although youth sunday will look very different this year, it is a great opportunity to empower our youth to be leaders. Youth’s comfort and familiarity with technology make them a great resource for churches who are seeking to move their worship services online for the first time.