Of Logjams, Bottlenecks and Partnerships

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One local news story today was about Transcanada’s decision to build an oil pipeline from Cushing, OK to the Gulf Coast.  Are you bored already?  Hang on.

As with every news story there are multiple lenses through which to view the story, but the one that caught my attention had to do with the most immediate impact on my wallet.  Apparently there is an oil glut in storage in Cushing due to inadequate distribution.  And so I am told for the time being, our cost at the pump continues to be artificially depressed.  Of course, once the logjam is broken and adequate access exists to the oil, others will be able to enjoy the product and the price will equalize.

Of course, thinking about oil made me think about youth ministry!  Recently I have been pondering again the expectation in Scripture for the whole community of faith to be involved in passing the faith to the next generation.  (Actually, if the truth were told, I think about this all the time.  All.  The.  Time.  Just sometimes I think about it in fresh ways 🙂

In my context, I have an amazing church with unbelievably talented individuals.  Come to think about it, that’s the only way it has ever been in any of the four churches I have served.  Must be something about the people of God.  But I have at times struggled for volunteers.   (I don’t like the “v” word…but I’ll use it for now for clarity).   And even now, as I am in the trenches with some wonderful people….not all of my community is involved in reaching the next generation in ways they could….and even would want to!  And while there are valid reasons at times, at other times the reason is very much…. me.

Now some of you are racing ahead.  You have seen similar scenarios and are making a list of why a youth pastor may not have enough volunteers:  He has too much pride to ask for help.  She has her identity wrapped up in performance.  He thinks its about getting others to join/help “his” program.  She is intimidated.  He is overwhelmed.  Her life experience is limiting her vision.  Well, all of those have been true at some point and can sometimes still be lenses through which I may operate.   But there are moments of breakthrough and growth as well.  For example, our youth just pulled off an amazing event for over 700 people that took months of preparation and was made possible not so much by staff, but by this community of faith pulling together.

The one lens that has been getting my attention lately is to examine the bottleneck created when a limited number of people (sometimes as few as one in a church) are  enlisting/recruiting/empowering etc “volunteers.”  I’ve got a lot of thoughts.  But this is long enough already.  And I want to hear from you.

Let’s cut to the chase:

  • What do you do…or have you seen done….to empower a community of faith to reach young people in powerful, intentional ways?
  • What do you wish youth pastors could/would do to help free or empower you and others like you?
  • What are some actions/unintentional attitudes that stifle the community or create a bottleneck among the people of God?
  • What are some of the best ways to strengthen partnerships between birth families and families of faith?
  • What else needs to be said about this issue?

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