“That is not fair!” How many times did you say that growing up? Or if you have kids how many times do you hear that in a day.
We all have a desire to be fair but the problem is we often forget what fair means. Most of us think fairness means we should all get the same thing. But in fact, a truer definition of fairness is that everyone gets what they need. When we live by the first definition our desire for fairness leads to a sense of jealousy instead of a driving force for positive change.
Before you start pointing your fingers at your children, remember that means there are three fingers pointing back at you(depending on how you hold your thumb).
Here is what I mean. As youth pastors we often think every thing should be the same: the same budget, the same games, the same snacks, the same service times, the same youth ministry resources, the same kids, etc. Then we not only get jealous when we do not have the same as everyone else we also get frustrated when we do not have the same success. This is not only not fair to us it is not fair to our students in our church and the un-reached students in our community. Because remember, fair does not mean we all get the same, fair we means we all get what we need.
Let me give you some examples.
Maybe you have a snack shack and sale snacks like many youth ministries do(nothing wrong with that). But if the snacks are not selling and your ministry is not growing you might need to ask yourself some questions. A little one could be do your kids like candy, but a more likely one is can they afford it? Yes, some kids cannot even afford a candy bar. Some kids only get to eat the meals they get a school. So maybe you need to dig into some community demographics, talk to some schools and get a better feel for the community around you. Then you may find your kids need real food and that if you had adult small groups in your church volunteer to cook meals you might not only meet a need but also see your ministry grow.
Some churches have a transportation ministry. But maybe you live in a more affluent community with big family cars and you could have families give kids rides. Then volunteers you might use for a transportation, or the time you might use building one, can be used in investing in relationships with students.
Most churches look for books when purchasing youth ministry resources for their disciple now curriculum. But if your neighbor jumped off a bridge would you follow them? Think about how much money you spend on books, time you spend figuring out how many to get, and then how many of those books go home with your students. Even if they do how many of them look at them again? What if you went with a digital study straight to your leaders, or at least a digital download where you can just make copies as needed. Then you could again take the time and money you save and invest it in your students. This is what we have done with our disciple now curriculum and we have seen a drastic change in our stress levels, budgets, and time with students.
These are just a few examples but I encourage you to look at your own ministry. Where are some areas(schedule, events, youth ministry resources, etc.) where you have tried to be fair(do everything like everyone else) and instead could be fair(do what you and your students need)? Then what are the next steps you could take to move towards the latter?