Darin Stevens shares: Tidiness and Influence

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“By this all men will know that you are good youth workers…if you keep the youth room clean”

Like many of you, we get the opportunity to do a lot of youth work in the local secondary school.  On a weekly basis we provide lunch-time clubs, we walk around the school grounds building relationships and we have even started teaching a few Religious Education lessons.  For the lunch-time clubs, the school gave us a disused classroom in which to meet…and I mean disused in every sense of the word!

But recently the school allowed us to repaint and decorate this space.  We are nearly finished with the project.   And this week while we meticulously peeled off tape, cleaned light covers and scraped up accidental drips, I remembered why it was so important to do a thorough job in situations like this.  (And no, it’s not just because it fits my perfectionistic tendencies!)

For many of the staff, this will be the only time they see any of our work.  And it will be the only thing they will use to decide if we are any good at what we do!  Most teachers will never come into the classroom when we are leading a lunch-time talk or group game.  And members of the senior staff will never see us  offering a listening ear to a broken-hearted teenager whose world has just collapsed.  The only thing they will see is the classroom we just painted…and by it they will judge how seriously and how professionally we take our role of caring for youth.

It is no different in a church setting.  How clean do you leave the space behind you when you leave?  For many in the church this will be the only tangible piece of data they have to assess your abilities.  The lead minister will not be there when you teach the Sunday school lesson.  The elder team will not be at the Friday youth club.  But they will be there to see if you have left a mess behind.

You may not like it.  You may think it’s not fair.  But it is reality.  And, if you want to grow in your leadership and influence…if you want to be the kind of youth minister who’s voice can help lead the church into the future…you will learn that one of the most important things you can do is keep the youth room clean.


dstevens

Darin (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) lives with his family in Oxfordshire, England. With over twenty years experience in leading youth ministry and training youth workers, as well as developing and delivering degree-level modules in Theology, Mission and Youth Ministry, he now oversees Start to Stir.

Categories: Youth Ministry Resources

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