The Assumptions we make in Youth Ministry

 

Student Ministry pitfalls

Have you ever had someone make an assumption about you based off of one fact?

Doesn’t it seem a bit unfair that far too often, those assumptions are negative. No one ever assumes Good things off of one fact. It’s always “Oh, You play Video Games? You must be lazy.” Or “Oh, You Like Rob Bell? You must be emergent.”

As Youth Pastors, we make assumptions all the time as well. For instance, this past week, we posted 12 books you should read to be a better Youth Pastor. We assumed that most Youth Pastors who looked at this post would already understand that we should be reading the Bible already.

But we also make assumptions about students in our Youth Group’s.

We make assumptions based on the way a student dresses.

We make assumptions based on who students hang out with.

We make assumptions based on who a student is dating.

We make assumptions based on how often a student shows up.

These assumptions can be damaging to our potential ministry to these students.  But these assumptions are easy to control and fix. We can work at preventing these assumptions from creeping into our minds or the minds of our volunteers.

However, there are other assumptions that take a little bit more work and aren’t as easy to notice.

Here in our Student Mnistry, we have been in a time of transition for the last several months. I got here 5 months ago, a month after the previous Youth Pastor left, and really, they were experiencing change for several months before that as many of the volunteer team left the group. I got here and really had no time to plan the ministry out, it was starting as I transitioned. So for the last few weeks in the downtime, I have been trying to do what I wish I could have done when I started: Evaluate where the group is.

Because I made assumptions at the beginning that I have now seen were wrong. I made the assumption that the students didn’t know the bible, because the way that many were living was not communicating an understanding of Biblical Living. I assumed that they needed to hear some relevant messages to where they currently were that would hopefully move them into closer communion with God.

I made a lot of assumptions. Some true, some not so true.

But as I have gotten to know more and more about the students the last few months, and I have sat and really evaluated a lot of things in the ministry, I have seen a few of my assumptions be smashed, and I have also seen how potentially damaging they could be to the future of the ministry.

Because, its not that the students don’t understand Biblical Living, they do. Most of them could tell you exactly how a Christian Should live in todays world. But what they haven’t done is accept it as something they must do. They understand how the bible applies to them, but for whatever reason, aren’t acting on it.

So although my initial assumption was somewhat true, that they weren’t living biblically, my assumption of how to fix it was off. After talking with some of our students, I have seen that had I continued to operate under the assumption that they need to be taught how to apply the bible to our lives, our Youth Group would not be reaching the students and many would probably not stick around.

So I have to wonder, what are some other assumptions in our Ministry that we need to take a deeper look at?

And what are some assumptions you have made in ministry that you were able to catch before they had detrimental effects on your ministry as a whole?

 

7 Comments

  1. Great post! Two things: 1. Great reminder that our job is always to serve people, even when we are leaving. 2. End like you started! Passionate, invested, with a vision for the future (even though you won't be there). Let the positive effects of your time there far outlive your time there. Not just in individual lives, but in the overall health of the ministry you leave behind!
  2. Great post! Two things: 1. Great reminder that our job is always to serve people, even when we are leaving. 2. End like you started! Passionate, invested, with a vision for the future (even though you won't be there). Let the positive effects of your time there far outlive your time there. Not just in individual lives, but in the overall health of the ministry you leave behind!
  3. Great post - I committed to spending a year running our youth program kind of as-is when I first came to my newest ministry position (two years ago). I'm so glad I did! I'd say most of my first impressions, and most of the things I would have done based on them, were wrong.

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