What Would You Do Different?

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by bunchofpants)

I read this post from Scot McKnight’s blog a while back. It’s a part of a series on youth ministry that guest blogger, Chris Folmsbee, has been writing for a while for McKnight. Chris ruminates on what he would do differently in youth ministry if he could go back and start over knowing what he knows now. Now, I know that this was written by a youth guy and how could anything good come from youth pastors, but he does have some good thoughts.

Here’s his list:

  • Act theologically before methodologically
  • Be more of a spiritual director than a program director
  • Hire a parent to be a part of our youth staff
  • Spend more time investing in interns/co-pastors
  • Experiment with more learner-centered education models
  • Ask less of my volunteers and yet equip them more
  • Communicate change to the church leaders, staff and parents more
  • Create more opportunities for students to “learn up” instead of me “teaching down”
  • Celebrate the successes in the lives of students with greater regularity and intensity
  • Worry less about the retreat themes and spend more time with the students on the retreats.
  • Take students on way more spiritual retreats
  • Work hard to be more collaborative with the youth workers in my city
  • Take more time off to be with my wife and kids
  • Be more intentional with a confirmation process
  • Find time to laugh and play more
  • Be more grace-filled with students who were goofing off and causing trouble
  • Try to learn more from the staff instead of thinking I have all the answers
  • Take the criticism of others more seriously and less defensively
  • Meet with my spiritual director more often
  • Take personal retreats more often
  • Be way more missional and a lot less attractional in my approach or model
  • Try and get more pulpit time to advocate for the students in the church and community
  • Pray more and develop a team of people to pray with
  • Provide inspiring training for the parent of the students
  • Call the students to greater levels of holiness
  • Spend a lot more time creating opportunities for students to practice justice
  • Allow the more artistic students opportunities to express themselves and their love for God.
  • Teach much more conversationally
  • Try to enter into the joy, pain, loss, doubt, hurt, etc. of the students and their families

Wow! What a list! As I read it, again in spite of him being a youth guy, I kept nodding my head and agreeing with him… replacing youth ministry with children’s ministry, of course 🙂

In his original post, Chris asks people to add to the list. I’m not quite sure what I would add.

What would you add?
What would you diagree with?
What on this list stands out to you and something you really resonate with?

Personally, if I were to pick two of my faves from the list they would be:

  • Act theologically before methodologically
  • Create more opportunities for students to “learn up” instead of me “teaching down”

If you asked me tomorrow, I’d probably pick two others!


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