Last week I had the privilege to attend the D6 conference in Dallas, TX with the other staff members here at FBC. All in all it was a good conference. I'll be diving into some deeper analysis and reflection about the conference over the course of my next few posts.
The conference began with Doug Fields, who I thought did a great job. He discussed the concept of a 'bait and switch' and how it is normally applied to take advantage of the consumer. For example, a car lot advertises a certain car at an unbelievable price, but when you arrive that car has 'already been sold' so the car salesman shows you another great buy, except this one is much more expensive than the advertised car was. The bait is the advertisement, the switch is the car he tries to sell you in place of the advertised one. Doug applied this concept to youth ministry showing how young youth pastors can think one thing and find out later that what they expected was completely different from what happened.
Here are some examples:
Bait: to be good in youth ministry all you need to do is love teenagers
Switch: to be good in youth ministry you must develop leaders
Bait: grow the ministry
Switch: manage the ministry's growth (infrastructure, management, administration)
Essentially the bait is the appealing stuff about youth ministry: pizza, hanging out with students, lock-ins, parties, pranks, etc. The switch is all of the stuff nobody tells you about, but it is the stuff that actually is youth ministry. Developing adult volunteers, building a sustainable foundation for the ministry, taking care of your own soul, learning how to handle angry parents, dealing with logistics, paperwork and finances. If we live in the world of the bait we are headed for burn out fast. But if we can transition ourselves over to the world of the switch we have a much higher chance of not only surviving in youth ministry but thriving.
By thriving I mean, being a leader who follows hard after Jesus and then encourages students and volunteers to follow after you. Doug said, 'Jesus should be the most famous person at your church', not you. Thriving means working together as a team with your volunteers towards a collective vision. Thriving is caring deeply for families and allowing that care to impact the youth ministry.
I thought Doug was spot on and am encouraged by what he said. As a rookie in ministry it is great to learn from the wisdom and experiences of those who have been doing youth ministry for a very long time.
What might be the bait/switch in your life? ministry? relationships? How can you learn from them and grow?
More D6 evaluation to come in the next few days!