“Less is More in Small Church Youth Ministry” - Guest post by Joshua Becker – Part One
I learned youth ministry at one of the large churches in Omaha, NE. For two years, I served as a full-time intern alongside a High School pastor, a Junior High pastor, a Student Ministries pastor, and two other interns.
The church was healthy. The ministry was strong. And the internship was strategic. As a result, when I left the internship to pastor my own Student Ministry, I copied everything I had learned… and I copied it well.
There was only one problem: my new ministry was roughly 1/10 the size of the ministry I had just left. And copying everything I had learned became one of the biggest mistakes I ever made in Student Ministry. In just the first few months, I had started countless new programs, but the pace of ministry I had instituted was completely unsustainable. It was not only impeding my joy in youth ministry, it was not the most effective way to reach students in my new context.
It was roughly 10-12 months into my new position until a new paradigm for youth ministry began to emerge in my mind. “Less is more.” Fewer programs done with excellence would bear far more fruit than a calendar full of mediocre events. I pared down my strategy to just the most essential programs – choosing ones that highlighted my giftedness and our unique church culture. And less did, indeed, become more.
Initially, I made the decision only because what I had tried didn’t work and I knew I couldn’t sustain it professionally or personally. But looking back now years later, I can better articulate the specific reasons I found more joy and effectiveness in less programming.
(Part Two of Two in a few days)
Joshua Becker blogs at Becoming Minimalist where he inspires others to find more life by owning fewer possessions. His new book, Living With Less: An Unexpected Key to Happiness has just been released by Group/Simply Youth and I highly recommend you check it out. Additionally, you’ll enjoy following him on Twitter. http://bit.ly/OZOLym