Blog/CYM Blog

Winning in Ministry

In my fourth grade basketball game, I whipped the ball down the court to my teammate so she could take a shot and we could win the game; in my seventh grade soccer scrimmage, I ran over another girl on the opposing team because I wanted to beat her to the ball; in my high school softball game, I made a diving catch to take away the opposing player’s homerun (not to mention, it made for a great photo)! While some of these happenings were in the heat of passionate game moments, it was the competition that motivated me to win.

If you haven’t figured it out yet – I am a highly competitive person! Maybe it was the fact that I grew up with all guys in my neighborhood, or growing up involved in athletics or just simply enjoying the challenge aspect of the games.

Recently, I was in the presence of some other youth leaders and we were joking about “holy competition.” While there were jokes about who had more teens at youth group, who has the better office, this or that, I initially thought this could get nasty and negative pretty fast. Competition in ministry…what good is this? I am not advocating for competition between youth ministers, but that competitive drive in me still exists – because I want to get the most out of myself as minister and my Core Team and parish in leading the teens to Christ.

In reflecting on this, three things have stuck with me:

  1. Scouting. Every year, the NFL, NBA and other professional sports leagues review and prepare constantly. They are looking a how their own teams do, and searching for ways to attack other teams. Are we doing all we can – before, during, and after Life Nights – to win souls for Christ? Are we inviting and challenging our Core Team to reach out to all teens present, especially those that may look out of place? What if we came home at night to turn on the tv and watch a previous episode of Life Night or Bible study? Would there be highlights? In this sense, a competitive drive can encourage us to be creative, to “scout” or do our homework and show up with a well laid plan.
  1. Warm Up. Before a game or competition you need to prepare and warm up, and the same is true for youth ministry. This involves coordination, communication, effort, and especially prayer on the part of the youth minister and Core Members. If we are honest with ourselves, sometimes we can fall into the mode of doing the same thing every week, being “lax” in our ministry. This is where the passion and zeal to lead teens to Christ can keep that drive going – we can’t take a week off, just as we don’t want an athlete to take a game off.
  1. Enjoy the Victories. So often in youth ministry, we keep our heads down, focused on what’s next. And after that, we look at what’s next, and then what’s next… Do we take time to enjoy the hard-won victories? When a Core Member leads a particularly great small group discussion, can they share about that? When a teen that has been doubting experiences Christ profoundly, do we praise God? It is important to recognize and celebrate God’s victories within our ministries!

While our ministries must be rooted in prayer, sometimes taking a different view, or challenging the Core to attack Life night or the upcoming retreat in a different way can breathe some fresh life into it. So pray hard, prepare, warm-up, trust in Christ, and enjoy the victories! Welcome the challenge! Win!

About the Author

Kelly Colangelo

I got an award for having the neatest hand writing in second grade, my mom did my homework. I’m not a morning person; I love ketchup, blueberry cake donuts and mint chocolate chip ice cream. I want to go to heaven… and take as many people with me with as possible. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram at Kelly Colangelo.

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