10. Camps/Retreats/Trips. I know it holds many memories and moments, but that camp/retreat/trip is for your students to make memories and have moments, not to relive yours from 20 years ago.
9. Worship. The songs, styles, and artists you love are amazing; let those be part of your personal worship time. Worship is number one about God, and when it comes to youth ministry, number two is about students worshipping and connecting to God.
8. Bad Experiences. Leave the past in the past, share them as part of your story and testimony once or twice, do not make them the driving factor behind your decisions and the way you do youth ministry.
7. Games. You winning or losing is not what the game is about, Gym Class Heroes! The games are about connecting, having fun, and even creating a teachable moment. Those 10 minutes of glory for you will translate into how your students perceive you for the next 20-30 minutes when you are teaching.
6. Relationships. Students need you as a leader and not a friend. Small group time is not all about you getting your emotional fill, feeling needed, or being a cool best friend. Youth Ministry is not about your relationships; it about students finding a relationship with Jesus and others.
5. Spiritual Growth. While you may be growing and learning from what you are teaching, the focus is on students growing and learning. Every lesson is not about you sharing what you are currently learning or learning in seminary. I know your brain bucket is full of all your wisdom, reading, and theology podcast, student don’t need your brain dump to impress them.
4. Programming. You are creating a program that meets students’ social, cultural, and spiritual needs, now, not yours. I know you loved the “way they did it when I was in youth group.” Running the same program you grew up attending is not going to work today. Just since COVID, everything has completely changed.
3. Politics and Hot Topics. Youth group is not your time to get on your political grandstand and let everyone know what side of every issue you stand on. It is also not for you to spend every week, all year long taking on every hot and controversial topic on repeat. They are important but there is other truths in the Bible. Most Biblicaly-illiterate students today, don’t even have the foundations of Biblical truth down… start there first.
2. Attention. You are not the center of attention. The youth ministry is not built on you. You do not have to be center-stage, in the spotlight, every week. Focus the attention of Christ and His love focused on students. Allow others to have the attention and the spotlight.
1.Salvation. Are you ready… you are not Jesus. You are not the Savior of your students. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, it is not about YOU. You can’t be the center of every conversation, lesson, worship set, relationship and moment. You don’t have to be everything to everybody. Your student’s salvation, spiritual life, and future shouldn’t depend on you, you are temporary. Jesus is the only one that is eternal. Let Him Increase and You Decrease!