Fight or Flight

This post is not intended to bring anyone pain. My intent is to have conversation with youth leaders about leadership in the church. Church culture in the states is by nature a part of the culture at large in America. One of the cultural influences on us as a church is the mentality of pendulum thinking. We either think the glass is half full or half empty. Everything is extremes. We go all in or we give completely up. It’s either gonna happen today or it never will. We take flight or we fight. 
When it comes to leadership in youth ministry it’s extremely hard for me to filter out the North American cultural wedges that everyone wants to gravitate toward. It’s only made worse by the reality that we live in a very transient society. The typical youth volunteer is a young professional somewhat out of college and is excited about making a difference. I never squelch that but the odds are working against them in the context of relational ministry. That volunteer will more than likely have to pull up stakes and relocate before they reach two years in the program. That’s a different topic but even if they don’t there is this fight to keep before them that their tenure in the program has to be measured over consistency, presence, and relational energy.
After just two months I will see leaders express frustration with not “feeling” used or integrated. They want something they can measure. It’s very hard to measure relational gain. I could put a line graph on them and their small group attendance. I could ask them about who they are mentoring. I could give them tools and such. But if they don’t have a vision for the long term work then they will more than likely take flight. 
How are you teaching your leaders to fight against the flight?
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Chad Swanzy has served in youth ministry for 15 years and currently works as the student ministry director at Gateway Community Church in Austin, Texas. Learn more from Chad and ask him your questions at