the “poop”, or a piece of “poop.” Either way, it stinks and funks up our ministry. Prideful people push others away. There are plenty of posts out there on pride, so I want to focus on the opposite. Humility is great. Humility is Godly. But listen: Humility is not thinking of yourself as lowly and unworthy of love or even praise. Humility is putting God’s agenda above our own and praising Him in successes.

How Low Ministry-Esteem Hurts

Humility is not low self-esteem. Low self-esteem hurts ministry because the minister second guesses himself. It hurts because the minister isn’t confident in the choices he makes, the lessons he teaches, or the students he lead.  In other words, it is:
  • Lack of confidence in decision-making abilities, so he often second-guesses them and loses respect of those who watch him make the decisions.
  • Lack of confidence in ability to bring the Gospel, so he downplays it and doesn’t deliver the Gospel message aggressive enough or convicting enough.
  • Lack of confidence in ability to draw students with Jesus, so he has trouble developing events and programming.
  • Lack of confidence in the students’ ability to reach others for Jesus, so he doesn’t put in place the appropriate programming providing missional opportunities.
  • Any others? Put them in the comments.
 

Building Balance

We are depraved, there’s no doubt about it. Yes, we are helpless (Romans 5:6). Yes, we shouldn’t think we are better than we really are (Romans 12:3). And yes, we are not to boast or be arrogant (1 Corinthians 13:4). And of course, we are to think of others as more highly than ourselves, for even Christ emptied himself and humbled himself to being a man dying on a cross…for us (Philippians 2). But look at that: Christ saw us worthy enough to die for us. God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us (John 3:16). So even if we are nothing compared to Christ, that doesn’t mean that we are nothing to Christ. We were made in God’s image (Genesis 1). We were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). God gave us a spirit, “not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). God gave us each a very personal gift from his Spirit to use for his Kingdom, and he expects us to use it. Paul says to the Thessalonians (2:4-5):
“And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do all the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”
Humility is denying personal sin, regarding others as God sees them, and knowing that we are loved.  And you are loved, dear friend and minister of young people. Live a redeeming and affirming life knowing this.
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15 Comments

  1. Great post Heather! I think having a healthy view of our role as Youth Pastor is crucial. Your examples of how low ministry esteem effect our Youth Ministries are spot on. I'd add that one of the ones I know many struggle with is that we feel students won't want to talk to us, and often rationalize that away as we're too busy to interact with all of the students, just a select few.
  2. Great post Heather! I think having a healthy view of our role as Youth Pastor is crucial. Your examples of how low ministry esteem effect our Youth Ministries are spot on. I'd add that one of the ones I know many struggle with is that we feel students won't want to talk to us, and often rationalize that away as we're too busy to interact with all of the students, just a select few.
  3. Great post Heather! I think having a healthy view of our role as Youth Pastor is crucial. Your examples of how low ministry esteem effect our Youth Ministries are spot on. I'd add that one of the ones I know many struggle with is that we feel students won't want to talk to us, and often rationalize that away as we're too busy to interact with all of the students, just a select few.
  4. Ability to lead volunteers in a healthy way is something that is tough to do as a generally younger leader leading older adult volunteers if you have a low ministry self esteem. I definitely struggle there.
    • Thanks for commenting, JC. "I'm young" "I'm single" "I'm female" "I don't have much paid experience" are all things that I use to beat myself up with. Yes, they may have some validity and truth, but that doesn't mean that I am incapable. And God used all kinds of weirdos in the Bible who were all of those things--and more. I remind myself that the Almighty can use anybody who He chooses to use, and I don't need to doubt that.
  5. Ability to lead volunteers in a healthy way is something that is tough to do as a generally younger leader leading older adult volunteers if you have a low ministry self esteem. I definitely struggle there.
    • Thanks for commenting, JC. "I'm young" "I'm single" "I'm female" "I don't have much paid experience" are all things that I use to beat myself up with. Yes, they may have some validity and truth, but that doesn't mean that I am incapable. And God used all kinds of weirdos in the Bible who were all of those things--and more. I remind myself that the Almighty can use anybody who He chooses to use, and I don't need to doubt that.
  6. Great post! In May it'll be my first full year of being a Student Pastor. Let me tell you, I struggle with what you mentioned in the post and what's been said by JC & Ben in the comment section. How do you go about building confidence in yourself to lead the way that you know God is telling you to lead?
    • Great question. I think first, you need to be secure in who you are. Second, you need to find your strengths, your niche; play off of those and build from those. Third, you need to find a mentor who is in ministry that can affirm you. I also know that our YouthMin Facebook group has been a huge help to many within youth ministry, in finding a network of people who can let you know that (1) you're not alone in feeling this way because (2) you're not the only one who deals with this junk. I just wrote a post for SmarterYM that will be published soon that is kind of a "how to" for building this ministry-esteem. Let me know if you have any questions!
  7. Great post! In May it'll be my first full year of being a Student Pastor. Let me tell you, I struggle with what you mentioned in the post and what's been said by JC & Ben in the comment section. How do you go about building confidence in yourself to lead the way that you know God is telling you to lead?
    • Great question. I think first, you need to be secure in who you are. Second, you need to find your strengths, your niche; play off of those and build from those. Third, you need to find a mentor who is in ministry that can affirm you. I also know that our YouthMin Facebook group has been a huge help to many within youth ministry, in finding a network of people who can let you know that (1) you're not alone in feeling this way because (2) you're not the only one who deals with this junk. I just wrote a post for SmarterYM that will be published soon that is kind of a "how to" for building this ministry-esteem. Let me know if you have any questions!

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