How Balanced Are You?
By Ken McCoy • JumpStart Ministries • Charlotte, North Carolina
I’m a klutz.
No, really. I am about as graceful as hippo. I was never any good at sports that require coordination and body control – one reason, maybe, that I’ve been a runner all my life. I spill things and walk into things. My body bears the scars of my multitudinous mishaps.
So, balance does not come easily for me – even in youth ministry.
I learned early on that doing youth ministry in a church calls for me to deftly handle many competing tensions. Parents and kids have wildly different opinions about what makes for good youth ministry. The same goes for girls and guys, middle schoolers and high schoolers, church kids and community kids, freshmen and seniors, and on and on.
Then there are the ministry issues that pull me in opposite directions: evangelism versus discipleship, fun versus service, programs versus relationships, attractional versus missional, and so on.
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Sometimes I can’t satisfy both sides. I have a hard time being “all things to all men” – I tend to overload one side and satisfy the needs of some but not others. I tend to reach the rowdy, action-oriented, take-charge kind of guys and miss the introspective, insightful, words-oriented girls. I land more heavily on the evangelism side of things. And, I am way more attractional than missional.
There have been occasions when my lack of balance has hurt me, the youth ministry, and the church. The more experienced I get; the better I become at avoiding the train-wrecks caused by overloading one extreme at the expense of the other. I guess you could say that I’m learning balance.
This concept is so centrally important to effective youth ministry that we decided to make it the theme for the latest edition of Youth Leaders Only. Its theme-oriented articles come from youth leaders just like yourself – men and women who are trying to find the sweet spot of ministry effectiveness with teenagers. You’ll appreciate their insights!
Feature Articles In YLO116:
• The Balancing Act – Rick Bundschuh
• Discipline vs. Fun In Youth Ministry – Daniel Johnson
• What’s Wrong With This Picture? – Doug Ranck
• Changing Lives – Denny Miller
• An Unlikely Portrait Of An Authentic and Effective Youth Group – Eric Gargas
Take it from a klutz who is learning to be more balanced: become a member of YLO and use these resources well. They may not make you more balanced, but they will certainly make you more effective!