Barriers to a healthy youth ministry (part 3 of 3)

youth ministry growth barriers

Read part 1 here.

Then read part 2 here.

This is part 3 of 3.

So we have two days of reflection under our belt.

Take what you wrote the first day to the biggest barrier and put it in front of you.

Take your response to part 2 and lay it next to part 1.

As you re-read your responses, where is the power for a different future?

If your barrier for the future is parents, other staff, volunteers, kids, money, building, or anything other than you, then you have given away your power and you are your biggest problem.

If the question you need answered for your freedom is answered by someone else, you are giving away power as well.

If you see yourself as the primary barrier to your ministry, then you hold the power to change you and it’s actually oddly empowering. You can figure out assumptions. You can engage in deeper dialogue with others. You can even pick a new job.

If you see yourself as the person needing to answer the question that will set you free, it might be scary, but it’s also a deeply mature place to be.

For some, it’s not others and it’s not yourself — it’s God you are waiting for. I get that. This is a different kind of waiting. For you I’ll suggest that spiritualizing “God decisions” is often (not always) a way to defer responsibility for actually taking action on something you know you should do or a way of escaping from the hard work of reflection. This is another post entirely, but I’ll suggest that if you blame parents or give power to others for your problems, no matter how screwed up they might be, it doesn’t make you more spiritual or faithful, only more creative in your rationalization.


Where does the power rest in your barrier or your freedom question? Is there a way to reframe your question in a way that empowers you and still has integrity as a question? Is there a way of seeing your contribution to the problem that is likely based in your assumptions about church, Jesus, youth ministry, roles, and/or mission so that you are more empowered?

This doesn’t change your circumstances, but reframing the reality you see in ministry will change you.


Posted on August 18, 2011

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