In high school and college. Yes, for a while it was some of the addictions that you may be thinking about. But that is a redemption story for another today. The addiction I am talking about now is the often overlooked addiction of video games. I played all the time.
Primarily for me it was sports games and I would spend hours building a franchise, tweaking my rosters, winning championships, and then tearing it all down and doing it all over again. While the countless hours wasted does frustrate me that is not why I hate video games. The reason I hate video games is I had a desire to accomplish something great and the time and talent to do it, but instead I wasted it on something that, while it gave me that feeling of achieving and conquering I longed for, actually accomplished nothing.
I love golf. Now please know that I do not play a lot of golf. I cannot afford it, have a wife and 3 kids, am bi-vocational, and work to create and provide youth ministry resources on the web. What I have been doing for a while though is going across the street to the park for 30 minutes in the morning and hitting golf balls. This is mainly for exercise as I got tired of running all the time and have not wanted to go back into a gym yet. But the other reason is golf is hard. It is the one thing I have never been able to get good at and I want to figure it out. I have taught myself drums, piano, guitar, coding, marketing, and many other things but cannot figure out golf. I want to take one of the challenges that has alluded me and for the first time not blame my clubs or my eight-year-old who talks in my backswing, and put the work in to figure this game out,
What does this have to do with youth ministry?
God has called us to do great things. We desire to do great things. We can accomplish great things. But too often we avoid the greater things and settle for the lesser.
Whether it is following a distraction or allowing ourselves to be satisfied by accomplishing a lesser, easier goal or not putting in the work and instead making excuses, we do not reach what we know we could and should.
I am not talking about when people get in the way. I know some of you have been slowed down, stopped, or fired by elders and pastors because you were doing exactly what God wanted you to do. I am talking about when we get in our way.
I encourage you to have a visioning moment. Get your favorite note-taking app, or if you are like me get out a journal or big wall hanging post-it note.
What are some big goals you know you want to and can reach? Maybe it is a number of lost kids or volunteers. Maybe it is parent buy-in or school partnerships. It could be getting all your kids to take the next step and start serving. Whatever it is, keep those goals in front of you, press on and put the work in, and do not settle for the lesser things ever again.