Youth Ministry Realities: When You Can’t Do It All

What can you do, when you can’t do it all?

Do you have those times in youth ministry when you realize that you are unable come through with all that you hoped to achieve? Whether it is that big event, that mission trip, or the weekly program that is getting out of control, we all have moments when we realize, “I just don’t have what it takes… I can’t do it all.” But what do we do, when we come to this painful conclusion?

Here’s a number of options I have had to work through over the years:

1) Depend On God: Yes, this should be a given. But, can we all be honest here for a moment? Even though we constantly tell teenagers to lean on God and depend on Him for strength, there is something about leadership that can easily set us up to begin depending on our own strength. It begins subtly and slowly, but when we are leading others there is often a tendency to feel weak if we have to admit we can’t do it. Somehow we feel inadequate about being a leader who does not have all the answers or have what it takes to navigate through a challenging time. However, isn’t that where God wants us? After all, isn’t God’s power displayed best in our weakness?

I know this is not rocket science, but how many of us are struggling through and trying to depend on our own depleted resources?

2) Delegate More: Again, not rocket science, but I have met too many lone rangers who either don’t trust or don’t take the time to invest in delegating. In the short term delegating requires us to:

  • Invest in someone else and teach them the process.
  • Walk with them through the new process.
  • Hand off the process entirely.

Because good delegation cannot happen over night, it’s often the lack of short-term results that forces us to ‘take back the pieces’ instead of waiting for the long-term fruit of delegation. However, we must be diligent in delegating and be patient waiting for results.

When we realize we can’t do it all, we must do all we can to delegate to others.

3) Do Less: Bottom line, do less! So often we hit the brick wall of near burnout because we are doing too much. How much of your schedule is absolutely imperative? If you could do a few great things instead of many average things, what would they be? if you could erase your schedule and start again, what would you keep and what you drop?

Is it possible you can’t do it all because you simply are doing too much in the first place?

4) Discover New Ways: Sometimes we simply need to find new ways to get ministry done. I can’t dive into your ministry for you here, but I can encourage you to get into a network and pick the brains of others for ideas and innovation. Sometimes there is a new way to accomplish the same purpose with less effort… How much time are you allowing yourself to learn new ways of accomplishing ministry? Who are the sharp people who you can learn from?

What would you add to this list? How are you coping with the reality that you can’t do it all? 

Phil <><


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