I love to grill. Like, hardcore. When my wife and I had a grill that worked (we've been "grill-less" and too busy to buy one lately), we'd grill out every other night.
When I was in college, however, we couldn't have grills in the dorms. Something about setting off smoke detectors and being a "fire hazard." Whatever.
So I got a George Foreman grill. Biggest mistake ever.
This funky clamshell cooking apparatus had such promise. It was going to be the savior to my college grilling problems. I had dreams of cooking hamburgers and steaks for my friends, and us having one of those dorm parties that makes all the other dorms jealous.
It worked fine for a week. Then reality set in.
For some reason, the GF Grill didn't want to get hot anymore. It would literally take 4 hours to cook a burger to medium rare. I believe the hottest the grill got was like 85 degrees. It was like sitting my meat outside on the sidewalk or by the pool. In fact, it got so bad that I would start to put my various meats in the grill to keep them cool.
And if that wasn't enough, when it did work, there was this handy little grease tray THAT DIDN'T ATTACH to the grill. If you know anything about Foreman Grills, they're kind of set on this downslope so all the unhealthy grease just slides right off your food and into this little tray so you can have the illusion of being healthy. But if the little grease tray was one micron off, all your grease from your food would be like a waterfall of nastiness spilling out into your countertop and floor.
The grease tray design was bad enough. The grill didn't work properly either, so about 11 days and 50 bucks later, it was retired to the closet. I was too embarrassed to even bring it back to Target.
So what's my point this morning? Don't be a George Foreman Grill.
Don't promise the world and then not deliver. Specifically, for youth ministers, don't make grand plans and promises you can't keep. Keep it real, be realistic with your goals for the ministry you work for.
Don't be lazy. In a couple of weeks, school will start back. It's what youth ministers refer to as the "Happy Month." You need to take a break, yes, and perhaps even a vacation, but don't look at August-September-October as the "easy months." Be aggressive and get some things done. Organize your youth storage room so you won't perpetually be looking for stuff come May. Write out a report for your leadership on the events of the summer, letting them know just how awesome you are. Maybe, after school has settled in, you plan an extra even for your teens. Look far in advance to any camps and retreats that need speakers booked and events planned. Don't be ineffective after a period of work like a George Foreman Grill.
Realize your ineffectiveness. Is an event or tradition that you have not having the same effect for your youth group or church? Maybe it's time to take a hard look at what is doing a good job of getting people to Jesus in your ministry. It's so easy to do the same things over and over, year after year, but what about when things become ineffective in leading people to Christ? What about when you start to become ineffective? It may be time to look at a break, a vacation, go to a conference, or even, in the last resort, a move. We as youth ministers can become burnt our very quickly if we don't watch ourselves.
Don't be a George Foreman Grill. Don't be broken, badly designed, and ineffective at what you do. Always be striving for the best to get people to Christ.
(And I swear if anyone comes on here and says "I loved my GF Grill, it was the greatest!" I'm going to punch you in the face.)