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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Not partnering with parents. // I often held parents out because I did not realize we could do more by working together.
- 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.
- 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!
- Not blocking more time out to evaluate, process, dream, and pray. // Everything always seems more important than stopping to talk to God and process.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.