Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders Have We Created a Youth Ministry Monster?

Have We Created a Youth Ministry Monster?

Have We Created a Youth Ministry Monster?

When I was a little kid I would watch the old Frankenstein movie. It scared me but I loved watching it. You are familiar with the story where Dr. Frankenstein created a monster. The doctor set out to create life, in his mind he was attempting to do something good. What he intended for good ended up becoming a monster.

I think that sometimes in the church we create something with good intentions, but it becomes ineffective at the least and a monster at the worst.

When our church doesn’t have a clearly defined purpose and vision we end up going in multiple directions rather than that one direction the church should be focused on.

In the creation of doing so many different ministries or missions in our church that aren’t all connected to our purpose and vision we end up creating a monster. How? How can a ministry or mission be wrong for our church?

Sometimes we create more ministries/missions than we can actually handle. The singular focus of the church’s purpose or direction is replaced by multiple directions.
The result:

Confusion. The church isn’t sure exactly what the church’s purpose or direction is. When our people don’t know the direction, they get confused because they look and see so many directions they are not sure where they fit in serving. There is no clear focus.

Frustration. Let’s pretend the church is in a giant canoe going down the river. The guide (the pastor) in the back knows the direction they are going. The canoe comes to a point where river divides in six different directions. The guide doesn’t clearly say take the second one from the right. He just keeps paddling. The others rowing in the canoe don’t know which direction to go. They see so many choices of direction but aren’t clear. The people in the canoe become frustrated.

Burn Out. A church member has the desire to serve and sees so many different directions they tend to jump in and serve in as many places as they possibly can. Eventually they get tired and start dropping out of ministries and potentially quit serving altogether because of the confusion and frustration. If our church knows our direction and it’s communicated clearly, and our members, knowing how God has wired them to serve, plug into the ministry that fits them best and is focused on the direction of the church, it brings them satisfaction and joy instead of confusion, frustration and burn out.

When we focus on that singular direction, we are now taking 100 percent of our members’ energy and moving forward together in unity. When we are divided in direction we divide up our members’ serving and energy. I would rather have a member 100 percent focused in one ministry than doing 30 percent in three different ministries.

Are there ministries or missions in our church that don’t fit our vision and purpose (our direction)?

What steps do we need to take to move toward a central focus and stronger unity in our church?

If the direction of the church isn’t clear, what needs to happen to clarify?

Will we have to kill off some ministries and missions?

Does your church have any “monsters”?

This article originally appeared here.

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Andy Lawrenson is the student and ministry teams pastor at Nags Head Church in North Carolina. Andy has been in student ministry for 25 years as both a volunteer and a paid staff member. Andy and his wife, Misha, have been married for 28 years and have three children: a son in middle school and twin eight-year-olds, a boy and girl.