doing it all alone (7 deadly sins of youth ministry)

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“I’ve got this!”

A dangerous phrase in ministry.  Of course we need to be confident in who we are and how God has gifted us, but when that leads to always taking and holding tightly to the reign of control, things can get a little rocky.

We like to be in control.  We like to know what’s going on and have our hand in the outcome in some way or every way.  We keep others at arms length and keep each task close at hand.  The intentions are good: to ensure everything runs smoothly.  But the outcome is often unpleasant: stress, broken relationship, or burnout.

This is a lesson I have learned time and time again.  I am an activator, I like to see things happen.  I can have obsessive tendencies when it comes to organization and ideas, and I want to do things right the first time.  Allowing others into a situation or task releases some of my control and hands them control that I may or may not have wanted to give up.  But I can’t do it all alone.  I need people: people to partner with, to delegate to, to bounce ideas off of.

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In Exodus 18, Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law), gave Moses this advice: “What you are doing is not good.  You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out.  The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”  Moses was trying to do it alone.  He was trying to be the best leader he could be by retaining control in every situation.  But as Jethro pointed out, Moses could not handle it alone.

Saying, “I’ve got this!” is ignoring the biblical truth that God created each individual with unique gifts and talents.  Trying to do it all alone, whether in ministry, marriage, or any other context, can lead to strained relationships and ultimately personal failure because we are meant to be in community.  Yes, it often causes discomfort to let others share control with us, but it is the way God intended it.

Engage in discomfort with me and share control this week.  Be a true leader and let someone lead with you.