It Should Not Be About One Person

It should not be about one person… Our ministries should not center around us… People should not be so dependent on us, that if we left, the ministry would fail. It shouldn’t be about attaining a celebrity status in our ministry or ministry circles. Our lives should not take away from Jesus, but should confidently point to Him. Every program and task should not center around us and lead us to the point of burn out. We should not create unrealistic expectations for the people we serve by saying yes to every opportunity. We should not be the center of focus and take away from gifted volunteers and students who desire to serve…

In our culture today, I see a common issue in churches: People are looking for the leader to answer all the problems and be the icon of the ministry. People love celebrities and often love to create celebrity pastors who are on stage. I also see that many of us secretly enjoy the iconic leadership and focus. Many of us have become addicted to the feelings of affirmation when we think people depend on us…

However, as a leader of students and families, it is imperative that we realize ministry is most effective when the Body of Christ is fully utilized. It is wholly unhealthy for everything to center on one person… We must recognize how healthy and effective ministry comes from a good leader leading a team of people to accomplish the vision. It is imperative that we do all we can as leaders to create environments where the rest of the Body of Christ can work together.

Therefore, it’s imperative I see myself as one part of the Body of Christ, and not the guy who does it all…

Here’s Some Things We Can Focus On:

Replace Yourself: How are you training volunteers to do what you do? If you are a volunteer, how are you training others to do what you do? How are you training students to do what you do?

Give Opportunity to Others: Whether volunteers or students, how often are we putting others up front to lead? What healthy risks are we taking to see others thrive in opportunities?

Let Go of Perfection: Are we looking for perfection when others start leading, or are we looking for potential? We must start with potential. Some of  the most brilliant leaders have had a challenging start, but have flourished later.

Training or Doing? How much of our time is taken up in training – compared to doing? Take a look at your schedule and see how much you are doing compared to training.

Talk Others Up: How much praising of others are we doing to take the focus off of ourselves? Praise parents for the God given job they do. Praise volunteers in front of students. Praise students publicly when they serve in big and small ways.

Give Them The Tools: What tools do you and your leaders need to grow and lead? Email training tips – Make training videos – Buy “how to” youth ministry books – Take them on a conference if you have the budget.

Train In The Teachable Moments: See every youth program as a ministry classroom. How much “on the job” training are we really doing? Do we see our programs purely to teach and train students? Or do we see them as a classroom for youth ministry training?

Just some thoughts. I would love to hear yours…

Phil <><



5 Responses to It Should Not Be About One Person

  1. Chris Wesley June 9, 2011 at 9:56 am #


    Great article, love the tips especially when it comes to talking others up. I find that the first two or three years of ministry should be finding our footing, but the years proceeding should be about your first point, replacing ourselves. It would hurt me if the ministry I’m responsible for fell apart because of my departure. Great reminder.

  2. Scott Tinman June 9, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Great post Phil! Doing ministry as a team and equipping those around you is what God has called us to do. Fortunately for the past few years I have been able to bring some volunteer leaders with me to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference since it has been close by. I also bring in different training to our area where we can go together to learn together but also build into each others lives. Last year I had a High School student that has a desire for ministry and we worked on a teaching series that he taught. Just a few examples of developing student & adult leaders around me.

  3. youthworktalk June 9, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    Chris and Scott, thanks guys. Sounds like you guys are doing some brilliant things. Scott, I love the Simply Youth Ministry Conference and the amount of good training options for volunteers. Chris, if you have not been, you should try next year in Louisville.

    I love to the idea of looking for gifting and seeing how we can support students in their ministry, rather than asking students to fill our holes of ministry. Great to hear what you are doing Scott!

    Chris, I once heard someone say that the greatest compliment a good leader can get is when someone says, “so exactly what does he/she do around here”? It’s my goal to work myself out many jobs so that I can empower others to lead, even if it means people wondering what I do…

  4. David Perez June 10, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    Loved this! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in either the convenience of doing it all ourselves or give in the pressure of doing it all ourselves (because we’re the “paid” ones), but the effort we put into our volun…err unpaid servant leaders (people volunteer on their free time, and we all servant leaders don’t have the luxury of free time) and students is well worth it. Thanks for the reminder and spurring us on, Phil!

  5. youthworktalk June 10, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    David, you are right. Convenience is often the reason we do not hand off to others. In the short term we save time, but longer term we waste time and deprive others of opportunities. Thanks for reading my friend!

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