'Don't Take It Personal' - A Youth Ministry Philosophy

You want to know what I have to say about someone that tells me 'not to take personally' comments, criticisms, gripes, moans, or complaints about the ministry I work for?

Rubbish.

Because for me (and you may be different), there is no way for me not to take things personally.

When a kid says, "I don't like the color of the summer camp shirt," I take it personally.

When another kid complains that there wasn't anything to drink to go along with the doughnuts I brought to class that morning, I take it personally.

When anyone makes a snide or unthoughtful comment about an event that I spent months planning every detail, I take it personally. 

You see, some people in ministry (pulpit, family, youth, or otherwise) can step back and take themselves out of that situation, turn off a switch when they go home from work and forget about all the things that were said that day.

Not me.

And I'm betting that's most ministers of all types out there.

Comments, arguments, moans, complaints are not like water off a duck to me. With some people, yes, because some people will do nothing but complain. I'm talking about others. Other people, parents, and the very teens in the youth group. To me every complaint is like a stab with a needle. It hurts for a while, it doesn't bleed much, but it leaves a mark.

No one can run the perfect, flawless ministry. No one can go without mistakes. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's okay of you take the ministry you work for a little personally. It's okay to take work home with you sometimes. It's okay to be emotionally involved - frankly, I don't see how all ministers don't get emotionally involved. 

In ministry, everything is personal. Jesus even took things personally and showed emotion because of it. We can't hold everything in. We'll eventually explode.

If you're one of those ministers who is able to shrug things off, then I commend you. And to a certain extent, everyone has to learn to do that. But as my wife told me, I think that getting involved and being passionate about the work we do makes us better ministers, even if we can't detach ourselves sometimes.