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3 Very Fatal Youth Ministry Phrases

I was thinking about three phrases I’ve said to my self from time to time. The problem is that they are either destructive or self-defeating phrases that get stuck in our minds and misdirect us. They are divisive, or at worst fatal, to a youth ministry career and calling. Stop it now! Tell me if you can (painfully) relate to any of these, and add your own in the comments:

“I’m working harder than everyone else.”
As a leader, you set the pace and passion, so you should be working hard! It is your job to show the urgency and delegate ownership to everyone else. So in some ways, this pity party is unwarranted, and I promise you there are plenty of people around willing to help if asked, empowered and challenged. Work hard … but multiply yourself into a workforce, too.

“My leader is terrible.”
As youth workers, we get the privilege of sitting in a seat beside the pastor. That can be a beautiful position of support and love, or it can be a divisive seat where we assassinate him/her for our own gain. We second-guess decisions and play devil’s advocate with others while silently and maliciously gaining support to our own vision and direction. My friends, it ought not to be this way. What would your church look like if you supported your leader, challenged and supported them? I promise you, this one alone could change everything. And thinking “my leader is terrible” quickly leads you to the last thought, too …

“I am the savior of this place.”
Of my word … how diluted is this one? Now, we would never dare to actually say this one out loud, yet we silently think it is the truth. This is going to come right before a low, I promise you, because from what I hear, God humbles the proud. Fight arrogance even in the silence of your heart. You won’t last long in youth ministry if you don’t!

Those are my three fatal phrases … add yours in the comments now, too! 

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Josh Griffin is high school pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He’s the co-counder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com and host of the Youth Ministry Garage Podcast. He's authored more than 20 youth ministry resources and is the author of "99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders" with Doug Fields. Josh is a father of 4 who speaks a little, podcasts a little, Twitters a bit, and blogs a lot. You can find him at DownloadYouthMinistry.com!