How I Got Over Myself in Youth Ministry
I made the mistake early on in youth ministry that I was a big deal. I started youth ministry as a driven 18 year old who thought they were going to be the next revolutionary youth pastor. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. It took me awhile to get over myself when it came to being a leader in youth ministry. I have seen time and time again, youth pastors and leaders get taken out because they are all about themselves rather than the mission of Jesus.
Whether you find yourself in a position of being all about yourself or feel the temptation to be all about yourself, here are a few things that helped me get over myself when it comes to youth ministry.
1. I had to get real with myself
It wasn’t until I realized that the way I was leading revealed a lot about who I was and what I thought about myself. I was leading in a way that revolved around me and trying to build my own platform. It wasn’t until I was real with myself that I ever sought out change to begin pursuing humility and get over myself. You see this with addiction as well. If you aren’t willing to change yourself, odds are you never will. It’s in those moments that you see yourself the way you are and realize something needs to change.
2. I had to invite people in (older and wiser)
When I became real with myself, I then invited people I trusted and knew had my best interest to give me feedback, direction, and call me out on my stuff. This is not easy to do because you are welcoming people into some of the ugly areas of your life. But it wasn’t until I invited people in to speak truth that I saw change of getting over myself. I remember a specific moment when my supervisor said these words to me, “Scotty, you are leading out of arrogance and you only care about yourself. If this keeps up, you won’t be a leader worth following.” Although, those words hurt in the moment, I’m beyond grateful they were willing to be honest with me because it allowed me to see the area I needed change. Invite someone in to speak truth so you can get over yourself.
3. I had to pursue humility
Humility was not something I was very good at. I thought I was the “bees-knees” and wanted everyone to know it. I knew I needed to pursue humility. If I didn’t, then I knew I would never get over myself. It takes humility to be real with self and also invite people in to speak truth. So that’s exactly where I started in my journey to seek a life of humility. I began to give things away that I knew people would thrive in. I would begin celebrating them rather than myself. It was tough at first. Soon it began to give me perspective and see that ministry is much larger than me. It is kingdom work and it works best when the whole body is at work together. Seek humility and stop making ministry all about you.
4. I had to be rooted in who Jesus says I am
A big reason I couldn’t get over myself was because I attached my identity to what I did and the results of my work. Boy, Looking back, was I horribly wrong for doing that. So many of us have fall victim to attaching our identities to our titles and “success.” Look, titles and success are great things, but when you attach your identity and worth to them you are in big trouble. Its a big indicator that you are all about yourself. Get back to the beginning, the fundamental of our christian faith. Have your foundation rooted in who Jesus says you are. Not on the midweek numbers or how many students signed up for camp. Those are always changing but who Jesus says you are is never changing. When you get to a place of rooting your identity in who Jesus says you are, you are more likely to get over yourself because you begin to realize its all about Jesus not you.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to be the next big deal. Its exhausting and will cause you to run into the ground. Be all about the person who truly matters, which is Jesus. We want our students to know Jesus above us all day and tomorrow. Return to why you first got started in student ministry. Don’t make it about you. Get over yourself and make Jesus the priority.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.