Many youth workers need to press play on their ministries. I love going to conferences, reading blogs, finding a good ministry book, talking ministry with anyone who wants to, and learning as much as I can. I think there are a lot of youth workers, exactly the same as me on this one, who love to learn! The problem comes when we learn and learn and know so much about ministry, but do nothing different in them. We know the right things to do but often times we aren’t actually doing them. This post may be for me as much as it is for anyone else. I find myself helping, giving advice, training, or writing to youth workers about how to improve their ministries when I myself need to put some of those things in place, or start doing things differently. As youth workers, we have so much info stored away but need to press play and let it out!
Learn with a purpose
We have all met the ‘conference people’, those people who go to every single conference on the planet. They go to so many events you would expect their ministries to be the absolute best, to run the smoothest, have the best leaders, and attract and keep a ton of students. But so often they are not all that because they never apply the things they learn. They agree with them but never put them into practice.
I am NOT saying to stop learning. As leaders, we continually need to learn and strive to get better. We need to take what we have learned about ministry and start doing ministry. We are really good at teaching our students about their need to apply what they learn when it comes to their spiritual lives and we know the need to apply what is learned. But when it comes to practical ministry advice we agree with it, tweet it, nod our heads at it, highlight it, but never end up putting it into practice in our ministries. So yes, learn as much as you can, and continue to learn, but make sure you are applying it to your ministry as well.
The way to guard ourselves from becoming the ‘conference’ (or blog, book, or training) person is to check yourself. Step back and evaluate your ministry based on the things you have learned via trainings, speakers, books, blogs, etc. Are you actually applying them in your ministry setting? Would you refer a book to someone to ‘help’ them that you aren’t practicing? Would you give advice to a fellow youth worker that you yourself are not using? Evaluate how your ministry uses what you have learned.
After attending a conference, reading a book or blog, or hearing a speaker, sit down with yourself or your team and come up with a practical plan for putting it into practice. Figure out what will work in your setting and DO IT! Press play on your knowledge, don’t allow it to just sit on the iPod in your brain and never be enjoyed.
If you feel like you practice everything you know that is great! Keep it up, keep learning, keep reading and continually be looking for ways to improve yourself and your ministry. Every youth worker needs to learn to press play on their knowledge, as well as sharing knowledge and learning from others who may have different info on the iPods in their brains.
Make a list, and get it done!