So for the past two days I’ve decided to read through some of my blog posts from when I first started writing this thing. I caught myself thinking two things 1) I was completely ridiculous & 2) I thought I was the STUFF in youth ministry. Do you know what I’ve learned in the 7 years that I have lived since I started this blog? (I was 28, BTW…) I have learned that NOBODY cares about what you write if it isn’t helpful or useful in some way & that even though I know WAY MORE about youth ministry now than I did back then, I am coming to realize how very little I actually know. I think that perspective begins to come with age… but I remember busting out of college thinking I knew better than every other youth pastor out there how to do this thing because I had read some books, sat in some classes, and had a few small successes under my belt. Boy was I wrong!!! Man… what I wouldn’t give to go back to 23-year-old Sam and say, “You think you get it… you think you know… you haven’t even scratched the surface! Wait until your kids get to be around that age…and watch all your graphs and strategies and “this is how it theoretically should work” statements just fly out the window.” I am learning 2 major lessons through all of this that I think are important for everyone in my type of position to learn:
1) Be HUMBLE & TEACHABLE
Nobody likes a know it all… Especially a 20-something one who has no kids (or babies) who tries to pose to parents of teenagers like they know how to parent their kids better. It’s annoying… and I was that… and I apologize! My kids have taught me more about youth ministry than my classes ever could. I now view parents of my students as partners… not projects. I look for ways that they can teach me about youth ministry… and not what I can teach them about parenting.
2) When I do speak… BE FULL OF GRACE & TRUTH
The words that I speak into others (students, parents, youth ministry peers) need to be edifying, building, and full of grace. There is no place for ARROGANCE, HARSH LANGUAGE, or KNOW IT ALL ATTITUDES. I am constantly reminding myself lately that “to win the argument but to lose the person is to LOSE.” Paul said it this way, “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:6
HUMILITY & GRACE go a long way!