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Over 15 years of serving teens inside the church as a student pastor I made so many mistakes. Every mistake was a huge opportunity to grow. Sometimes I learned quickly and sometimes it took messing up several times. As I look back I am so thankful for every moment I have had to lead the next generation because it put me on the front seat of shaping the future of the church.

Now that I have a little space between those not so magical moments of learning I can look back and see clearly what some of my biggest blunders were. Here are the ten mistakes that stand out…maybe you have made a few of the same blunders. It’s ok…keep learning and keep leading. Here is my list!

  1. Building the ministry around my personality and not a healthy vision. // It was addicting to know teens needed me to lead and be there for them. The ministry had to become more important than me being the hero.
  2. Not empowering small group leaders to be the real influence. // Small group leaders make a lasting influence. Many times I focused on volunteers to do tasks rather than small group leaders to do ministry.
  3. Trying to create the “perfect” retreat, event, camp. // Many times I let mistakes at events distract me from being in the moment of what God was doing.
  4. Not partnering with parents. // I often held parents out because I did not realize we could do more by working together.
  5. Trying to earn approval through bigger numbers instead of effective ministry. // Bigger is not always better and it was not always as fun as I thought it would be.
  6. Complaining about what the ministry did not have instead of maximizing the resources and volunteers we did have. // It’s very easy to never be thankful and become trapped by more, more, more!
  7. Not blocking more time out to evaluate, process, dream, and pray. // Everything always seems more important than stopping to talk to God and process.
  8. Failing to cast vision to my senior pastor and other leaders concerning our next steps in student ministry. // Many times I just did not make keeping my supervisors in the loop a priority.
  9. Not protecting my family time and days off. // Many times I just failed to stop and push things off till next week. Time off with family really does matter because it protects the family and the soul.
  10. Not taking time to celebrate ministry wins. // We get trapped by the desire to reach just one more teen that we often forget to slow down and celebrate what God is doing.