Legacy Now Blog - Jason Carr Writes

Exploring the collision of everyday life and an incredible God

Month: April 2017

Til The Whistle Blows

I can still hear my football coach saying it: “You play until the whistle blows.” If loafing at practice or caught in a game taking a play off, a player would hear something similar. Often coaches chose to add some choice words in there, but essentially they are always saying the same thing. The play is not over until it’s over. You know it’s over when the referee blows their whistle.

Simple, right?

Not so much. You get tired. You feel like your part does not matter. You don’t get the attention you think you deserve. You lose focus. It gets monotonous. So you take a play off.

I’m not just talking about football. This is true in ministry. We take plays off. We miss opportunities. We “kinda” prepare for that talk. We settle to get things done. We get tired of the same thing each week and dial it in and just get by.

Recently I talked with a student pastor experiencing that. His energy had tapped out. His motivation had waned. He knew he was not giving it his all, but frankly needed some encouragement.

How do you fix that?

It’s not easy, but there are some things you can do to keep playing until the whistle blows.

Focus on the end game. What you do now matters for later. Relational ministry (especially with students) is rarely tangible. But He is the grower, and our job is to plant well and trust Him. In the end, the victory is His.

Remember who you are playing for. He knows. He is with you. Your service matters to the Kingdom of forever. Reset your perspective.

Your value can’t come from man alone. Seek to sink your identity in the One who rescued you and gave you a new name. You are His son or daughter. Work from there.

Celebrate regularly. Choose to celebrate anything pointing to your vision and mission that is being accomplished or developed.

Trust relentlessly. Even when it does not make sense.

Be you. Kick comparison aside and focus on faithfulness. You’ll find freedom in your spirit there.

No matter where you are in your ministry, until He calls you home, the whistle has not blown yet. Don’t be discouraged in doing good. Praying that you serve well until the whistle blows.

Attendance Equals Interest?

Students quit coming so they might not be interested, right?

Not completely.

Attendance does not always equal interest. There are too many variables to consider outside of them just being there with you at group.

It’s easy to see students not at your program and take it personal. Remember, there is always a story deeper that what we usually see.

Take time to ask questions to those involved or engaged in your ministry. Often, you’ll discover there are school things that conflict. You’ll find family things going on with the student you were not aware of. You might even be let onto a blindspot in your ministry that you didn’t see.

I recently worked with a church that was planning on changing their weekly meeting time. It sounded great in the meeting. Even went over well in the volunteer meeting.

The parents and students? Not so much.

When they changed the time, their numbers initially dropped. The church realized that they needed to clearly communicate more often the reasoning and purpose behind the change. It wasn’t that students hated the church and didn’t want to come. They needed to know the why, to a degree they felt left out.

It’s also great to remember that there seems to be seasons. There are some seasons where you might have a great group of student leaders who really do a great job of committing and gathering. And then there are seasons when you pray for those students to engage in your ministry.

It seems like some churches can just open the doors and students just come running in and fill the room. That’s not always the case. In fact, most churches would be wise to invest time and resources in thinking about gathering outside of the weekly program.

Don’t forget about the power of social media to communication, cast vision, and help gather too. It’s a great resource for your ministry is your leverage it well. Pull your leaders aside and get their feedback. Survey some students. Let your ears and curiosity lead the way in times of wonder. What you learn might just help you understand what’s going on.

Moral of the story is don’t allow attendance fluctuations to discourage you from doing good. It might just be the thing that helps you reconnect or rethink about your ministry in a new and powerful way.