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As stated before, failure is not an “if it happens”, but “when.” Maybe one of the hardest parts of youth ministry is when we fail in our dealings with other adults. We talked about failing when we work with students, but they are typically quick to forgive and unjaded by the struggles of this world. When we mess up with an adult, be it colleagues or volunteers, failure on our part can have harsh consequences for you and your ministry.
Grace is one of the foundational cornerstones of ministry, unfortunately some of the worst people to exercise this are those who serve in the Church. Maybe you have had a game that got out of control in the sanctuary and a window shattered or you show up late to the nine o’clock staff meeting (it does not matter that you say nothing during the hour or that you were late because you were talking with a teen who was struggling with being accepted in school). Regardless of the specific details of the accident, failure on your part may result with the senior pastor, an elder, or even the secretary come down on you hard for your “complete lack of control” with the teens or inability to do things right.
The flip side for youth workers failing is when it involves our volunteers. Now our failure impacts ministry directly and may even call into question your leadership or faithfulness to this ministry. Failing to get the curriculum out to your small group leaders does not allow for enough time to prepare well enough and encourages a pattern of laziness or cancelling a meeting with them ten minutes after it was suppose to start shows a lack of respect for them. This can result in poor performance, a reputation of not getting the job done, and even a lost of numerous volunteers.
When these failures happen, we need to ensure that we are dealing effectively with what is going on. Here are four things that we need to recognize.
How has failure with adults hit your ministry? What steps did you take to do better?