I’ve been greatly inspired recently by the words of Mike Yaconelli. Wow did he have a heart for young people and youth workers! He’s one of those guys that I wish I had the opportunity to just go and spend time with him and just talk. To soak up the passion that he had for Jesus.
I picked up the book Getting Fired for the Glory of God, which is a collection of articles that he had written throughout the years. There is also a DVD with some video of his closing talks from the NYWC and other audio talks. I read it in about 2 hours and continue to go back and thumb through it to take some extra time to soak it all up.
I can’t find a single phrase that I disagree with in anything that he says. That’s rare for me.
But it’s not my point to go on about Yaconelli, but rather to talk about the aspect of his words that impacted me the most. Here is a quote:
“Obviously evangelism is an important goal and calling of the church. But evangelism is not a justification for busyness, exhaustion, burnout, or the destruction of families. Many evangelistic missionary organizations have a reputation for leaders who’ve burned themselves out on the altar of evangelism. And then–when these charismatic , driven leaders collapse under the weight of their maddening schedules–they’re tossed aside for the next leaders who’ll also self-destruct.
Youth workers, you haven’t been called to crazy, maddening schedules. You haven’t been called to reach every student for Christ. You haven’t been called to fix all the kids in your youth groups. The weight of your youth group isn’t on your shoulders. Your calling is to be faithful to Christ and to your families–and to reach those you can. Growth is not the gospel. More and bigger are not fruits of the Spirit.”
It’s so easy to get all tangled up in the web of busyness and “success”. We look around and see what other youth groups are doing and we go: “Wow! That youth worker must have something I don’t…” and we play that comparison game and we instantly try to emulate that kind of busyness into our own ministries.
Bigger is not better!
Bigger does not equal success!
More is not better!
More does not equal success!
There is nothing wrong with a small group. There is nothing wrong with having very little to “do” on a calendar. Of course our churches will tell us otherwise, but who are we to aim to please in life? The board or Jesus? Given the choice between the 2, we should choose Jesus every single time.
If you’re struggling because you only have 2 or 3 show up to your group, be encouraged! You have those 2 or 3 to work! There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact you have more time and more energy to devote to those 3! I would much rather spend my time developing 3 committed believers than managing 20 students who may or may not even want to be there.
It’s time that we called out those who demand numbers and results and started focusing on who we are in Jesus. When we do that, everything else will fall into place.